St. Joseph Catholic Church - Toledo, OH

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December 25, 2012 - Christmas

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Homily Preparation Notes

Merry Christmas to all of you here, and your families, present and away. I pray that your celebration of Christ's birth be deeper and more joyful than ever.

The most profound perspective into the mystery of Jesus Christ will always be that of his Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary; just as the deepest understanding of the mystery of the Blessed Virgin Mary will be that of her son, Jesus Christ. So I invite you in your own personal prayer for this Christmas to step into the shoes of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and gaze upon the Infant King, Jesus Christ, in the manger. Mary knows of His divine origin, that He became miraculously present in her womb, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, without the normal marital embrace involving a man. So there is no doubt whatsoever in Her mind of his heavenly origin. She has experienced Him growing within her for nine months, so she knows Him in all the ways a pregnant mother knows the child within her womb, the sense of touch that is involved, all the emotions. But her eyes have not yet looked upon him by the light of day.

Finally today, she can see him.… and he looks so normal. There is nothing particularly divine about his appearance. He does not levitate above the crib. He is not speaking about the mysteries of the universe that he himself created, such that one would believe he is a phenomenal child. The stuff of his human flesh is like that of any other child. He does not roll through the wooden edges of his crib, as 33 years later he will walk through locked doors after his resurrection. A mother notices all the details of her newborn child. She meditates on them, soaks them in. This child of heavenly origin looks so normal, so much like every other child.

What is the lesson in this likeness, this sameness of the Divine Child with every other child? God truly has come so near to us. He does not remain in some lofty otherness that we cannot approach. He enters truly into our humanity. He truly becomes Emmanuel, “God with us”! Blessed Aelred of Rievaulx sees something of the fulfillment of the prophetic action of Elisha in the Old Testament, when he raised to life the son of Shunamite woman, by stretching his body across the dead boy, allowing his humanity to heal humanity of the boy. Blessed Aelred writes from the perspective of the dead boy, and from yours and my perspective, before we were baptized, and before we decided as adults to accept his salvific healing: “ How could he be more with me? Small like me, weak like me, naked like me, poor like me. In all things he has conformed himself to me, taking to himself what is mine and giving me what is his. I lay dead. There was no voice in me, there were no senses in me, and the very light of my eyes was no longer with me. Today that great Man, that 'prophet who is powerful in word and in deeds came down to me, put his face upon my face and his mouth upon my mouth, and his hands upon my hands', and thus, he became Emmanuel, 'God with us'.”

Since he has become so near, and we can believe it with the conviction of the Blessed Virgin Mary, what are we to do?… Let him heal us in a way more powerful than Elisha's healing of the dead boy. Even as you look upon him in this manger, tell him he is your king. Tell him you acknowledge him as your personal Lord and Savior.

Pope Benedict XVI just released his newest book on the infancy narratives of Jesus Christ in the Bible. The Pope comments on the angel Gabriel's line to Joseph, “Mary will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for which he will save his people from their sins.” Some 31 years later Jesus will heal the sins of a paralytic, before he actually fixes the physical paralysis. In other words, Jesus first fixes the man's relationship with God, which is always priority beyond anything physical. The Pope writes: “Man is a relational being. And if his first, fundamental, relationship is disturbed–his relationship with God–then nothing else can be truly in order. This is where the priority lies in Jesus' message and ministry; before all else, he wants to point man toward the essence of his malady, and to show him–if you are not healed there, then however many good things you may find, you are not truly healed.”

So here is the question for you and me. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, is the very core of our being healed, because of a right relationship with him? Do you know him as your Lord and Savior. Do you treat him as such? One very simple question to be asked on holidays like Christmas and Easter: do you show up to worship him every week at Mass, which is a minimal obligation of somebody who claims to have received the gift of the Incarnation of God at Christmas. Are you trying to live your life in Thanksgiving for God's love shown you in this manger?

The Child in the manger looks so normal to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and to you and me… yet he is your divine Creator and Lord. Allow him truly to be with you and to rule your heart. As you approach him Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity today in the Eucharist, let him heal you and make you fully His.



Iustus germinabit sicut lilium: et florebit in aeternum ante Dominum.
-- Gospel Acclamation, Solemnity of St. Joseph, March 19

Eucharistic Quotes

"The greatest love story of all times is contained in a tiny white Host."

--Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen



30 min. before Mass

Baptism, Marriage

by appointment

Mass Times


Saturday 4:00 P.M.
Sunday 9:00 A.M. - Latin

Tridentine Latin Masses

Sundays 9:00 A.M.

Holy Days of Obligation

Please see bulletin for Mass times.