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: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Monday, January 5, 2015

Homily - Circumcision of Our Lord - January 1, 2015

Tit. 2:11-14; Lk. 2:21

Last week, I mentioned that one of the ways of seeing this Christmas season is that the circle around our Lord becomes wider and wider.  It begins with Jesus, Mary and Joseph, then the Shepherds, Simeon and Anna, the Magi, and, finally, all the world in His cross and resurrection.  Another way of seeing this season is how deeply the Lord has entered our humanity by His birth and incarnation.  First, He is born in time.  Next Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Name, He is given a name.  When we know someone’s name, we are able to know them, to enter into a relationship with them.  The following Sunday, the Feast of the Holy Family, we reflect that so completely has the Lord entered into humanity that He becomes the member of a family.

Today, in the Feast of the Circumcision, we recall that, by this rite, He becomes a member of His people, Israel.  This was the rite by which male children were initiated into Israel and the promise of righteousness through the law and salvation, which it could not effect.  Now, the Lord inters into this people and this promise, in this first shedding of His blood, fulfilling His mission by His cross and resurrection, into which we enter by our faith and baptism, the rite of initiation into Christ for us all.

Even in the Old Testament, the external rite of circumcision was to be accompanied by an interior response.  The prophets began to speak of the circumcision of the heart, by analogy, removing the way of life of the flesh, and living according to the way of life and law of the Lord.  And that is what we have in our Epistle today.  St. Paul announces that the Savior has appeared, therefore, we, denying ungodliness and worldly desires, live soberly, justly, and godly, looking for our blessed hope.

The saints tell us how to live in this way.  On this new year’s day, I always think of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who after many years of her work carrying the dying to her hospital where they could die with dignity, was discovered by a reporter for the London Times, an atheist, who asked her, “Mother, how did you do it?”  And she replied, “We begin so well, we should start over often.”  The Savior has appeared.  Every moment is a moment of grace, a new beginning.  In every moment we may encounter our blessed hope.

At another time, when asked the same question, “How did you do it?” she said, “One, by one, by one.”  Our Lord says to Martha, “You are anxious about many things, only one thing is required.”  The next thing.  Every moment is a moment of grace.  We do the next thing which is before us, and it all gets done, and wonderfully.  Look at what Blessed Mother Teresa accomplished, one, by one, by one.

When I was in the seminary, we used to write prayers for various occasions.  Once, one of my classmates wrote a prayer, which was incorrect:  “Lord, may we never get so far from you that we cannot be saved.”  The priest spoke of this from the pulpit, that it is incorrect.  By His birth and incarnation, our Lord has entered into all our humanity, except sin, and there is no place in this life that we can find ourselves that He has not been there first, with His light, His guidance, His help, His grace, His power to save us.

What a blessed hope this gives us, since there are times we do not understand what is happening with us, but the Lord is present.  And how often have we worried about our loved ones, when we do not know what is happening with them?  And yet, our Lord knows, and He is with them with His presence, His light, His guidance, His power to save us.  What a blessed hope He gives us.  So completely did our Lord enter into humanity that he did not even spare himself the human experience of death, but entered there, and re-interpreted death in His cross and resurrection, which is ours by our faith and baptism.

This is what we celebrate in the Christmas mystery, that the Lord has appeared, and so completely has He has entered our humanity that He has revealed to us His way, His power as God, and our blessed hope.