Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:15-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, January 20, 2014

Homily - Sunday within the Octave of Christmas - December 29, 2013

Gal. 4:1-7; Lk. 2:33-40

So great is the mystery of the Lord’s birth and Incarnation, that the Church gives us an entire season, that of Christmas-Epiphany, to reflect on its meaning.  The readings today show us how the circle widens and how completely the Lord entered into humanity.

Christmas midnight Mass gave us the birth of Jesus from Mary, His birth in time.  From the tender scene of Mary and Joseph, and Jesus in the manger, the circle widens.  He then encounters the shepherds, the first to hear of His birth.  In today’s Gospel, coming into the Temple, He encounters Simeon and Anna.  They represent all the best sensibilities of Israel.  Simeon was “just and pious and awaited the redemption of Israel.”  Anna was constantly vigilant, in prayer and fasting.  To wait faithfully is the disposition of those who receive the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises.  In a kind of First Communion, Simeon holds the Christ Child in his arms, an expression of intimate communion which the Lord desires with every soul at His coming. 

The incomprehensible God has become human so that we may see and know Him.  God, Whom we could not reach, has placed Himself within our grasp.  So St. John of the Cross speaks of God Who has first loved us.  “It is indeed credible,” he says, “that a bird of lowly flight can capture the royal eagle of the heights, if this eagle descends with the desire of being captured.”  (Canticle, 31)  In His birth and Incarnation, the Lord descends from above because he wishes to be captured.  And He loves to be captive:  in the manger, in the embrace of Simeon, in the house at Nazareth, in the sacred species of bread and wine, in the sacraments of our vocations, in the homes and hearts of those who seek Him.  St. John of the Cross goes on to say love captures Him and faith strengthens the bonds.  These, love and faith, come first, then the Lord reveals His secrets.  And so Simeon says, now my eyes have witnessed your saving deed.  The Blessed Mother treasures the moment in her heart, disclosing the hearts of many.  The desire of ages, this communion with the Lord.  For this, He was born.

The Mass of Christmas Day gave us the Prologue of the Gospel of John, the emanation of the eternal Word from the Father, Christ begotten from eternity.  Made flesh, He enters more and more completely into the human condition so as to make a new creation in grace and truth.  And so in today’s Gospel, the Lord is presented in the Temple.  He assumes the prescription of the Old Testament law whereby every firstborn male is consecrated to God.  This was a tribute to the saving act of God by which He delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt to the promised land.  This consecration was likely to ensure the memory of the Exodus and the acts of God leading Israel.  So completely did Christ enter the human condition, that He, the eternal Word, the ratio, the plan of the Father, enters into Israel’s hope of redemption.  He, the Savior, writes its final chapter in His cross and resurrection, delivering us from death to eternal life.  The law was our guardian, St. Paul says, until we received the adoption of sons, and were given the Spirit.  The eternal Word replaces the words of the law, not abolishing it, but fulfilling it.  Sharing the life and love of the Father in the Holy Ghost, we are able now to know and to fulfill the law in its perfection, the purpose of God, in faith.

St. Paul gives voice to the meaning.  No longer servants, then, but sons are we.  And if sons, then heirs.  Christ was born for this.