Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily 1-6-22

Deacon Steven Johnson’s Homily – January 6, 2022
Christmas Weekday, Thursday, Year C
Readings: 1 Jn 4:19-5:4, Ps 72:1-2, 14, 15bc, 17, Gospel Lk 4:14-22a
Optional Memorial of St. André Bessette, Religious
Theme: Jesus is for All

If you have faith in Jesus Christ, it has been “begotten” in you by God himself. Begotten, which is a past tense of beget, means to “bring forth,” in other words, to create that which was not created before but now exists because of the actions and will of another. Much like a man and woman coming together to create a child.

We know that the Son of God, Jesus, already existed in the Divine Trinity as God Himself from the beginning before time. But, Jesus, as the God Man, did not, until he was brought forth, begotten, by God Himself. Jesus was “begotten” by God as Human and Divine through His human servant Mary. Jesus, the Divine Man, by the power of the Father, was begotten for us in our lowly human form to once and for all save us from our sins. God lowered Himself to take on our lowly form and walk among us so we would know for a fact the great love He has for us in this final great sign.

Jesus’s great love, as we have been reading about for the past week, is for all, not just the Jews, but for all people (Gentiles). Jesus came to save us all and to show us a better way, a way pleasing and good in God’s sight. 

In Luke’s Gospel today, Jesus returns for the first time since His Baptism and anointing by the Father through John the Baptist and His temptation in the desert by the Devil. Jesus is now set on His path to redeem all of us and claim us as God’s children. So, He enters the synagogue at Nazareth, His hometown, to speak to them. Jesus makes a stunning proclamation to the people and proclaims that He is the fulfilment of the Prophet Isaiah’s writing, some 900 years earlier, to be the Messiah they have been waiting for. He spoke so eloquently and with authority that, as Luke says, “all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.”

But today’s passage in Luke only gives half the story and meaning of this Christmas season. We already know that Jesus is the Savior of all people. What we have not learned yet is we must believe that the statement is true.

If we continue reading the verses after today’s reading (Lk 4:23-30), we come to understand the rejection of Jesus as He proclaims to them that, as the Messiah, whom they have been waiting for, is now present in Him, He is not just for them as Jews, but for all people, Gentiles included. The very Jews who were just praising Him for His eloquence in speaking, now want to kill Him by throwing Him off the cliff of their town because they could not accept that their Messiah would be for anyone else but them. They did not believe His statement was true.

No one can claim Jesus Christ for themself and reject others. St. John is very clear that in order for us to truly love God, we have to love our neighbor, no matter who they are or what they have done. We must not let our free will allow us to be judge and jury over others in receiving God’s love through Jesus Christ. We must believe it is true that Jesus’s claim as Messiah is not just for a few select people, but for everyone. If we do not believe this to be true, then the love of God is not in us.

Jesus is for all. If we are begotten by God through faith in Jesus Christ and know that through Jesus our love is for all, we will conquer the world.

Saint André Bessette was a prime example of how Jesus’s love can conquer the world.      St. Andre’ was born near Quebec, Canada in 1845. He was orphaned at the age of 12 and worked four years in the United States as a mill worker. A man considered lowly in his time, with little education, unable to read or write, eventually joined the Congregation of the Holy Cross as a brother. He was sent to the College of Notre Dame in Montreal, Canada where he was assigned the job of doorkeeper. He did that for forty years. He also was a janitor, barber, gardener, and lamplighter. In that time, he developed a deep devotion to St. Joseph and shared that with others. Through this devotion, Andre’ became known as a healer and “The Miracle Man of Montreal.” Later he convinced the elders to have a small chapel constructed to St. Joseph. Today that little chapel is now the great basilica of St. Joseph’s Oratory in Montreal which is visited by pilgrims from all over the world. 1 2

St. André died near Montreal on January 6, 1937. He was 91 years old. Over one million people paid their respects at his death 2. St. André was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI on October 10, 2010.1 He is known as the patron saint of caregivers.

Jesus is for all. You do not have to be a highly educated theologian, rich, or connected in church hierarchy to be a saint, only that you have the love of God begotten in you and through you for your neighbor as St. André did.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL