posted on January 06, 2013 19:57
Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
January 6, 2013 - The Epiphany of the Lord
10 AM Service
The experience of the Christmas season is so powerful you can take that Gospel alone and break open those words and you would still be sitting here at midnight enthralled as to what it all says. Can you just imagine three wise men following a star. The mystery was so overwhelming, and they just can't wait to see what's going to be there. They walk in and they say, “It's a baby! What did we come to see - a baby!” We know the rest of the story.
But on this day these three wise men were bringing gifts fit for a king. They brought themselves, but in the process of bringing the gifts and coming to the Christ child - their lives were changed. This morning, and in fact, every weekend and every Eucharist, we too are led by something within us to come here and to pray.
The gift that you and I bring Sunday after Sunday is the gift of our brokenness - that we need forgiveness, we need healing, so that just like the Wise Men when we leave church, what has happened here takes us on another path, another way to live our lives.
And so this morning, what is our brokenness? No two people here have the same brokenness. And brokenness doesn't mean that it's all bad. Brokenness just means that my life is not flowing the way I know it should flow, and I am coming here because I know I simply need to be here. But once I'm here I realize why I was led here.
Many times our brokenness overwhelms us, and when that happens we don't know where to turn. That's why not everybody, but many people just quit going to church for whatever reason, but the reason really is their brokenness.
“I don't think I belong there anymore. People may wonder what am I doing back?”
But when we bring our brokenness - and we know that God can take that brokenness whatever it is and transform it to give us peace and joy - then we realize “I do need to be here.”
The Wise Men are the Gentiles. They represent all of us. All are welcome in God's house, whether we are male or female, whether we are Catholic or Baptist, whether we are rich or poor, it doesn't make any difference. Everyone needs to come see that child who will grow up and transform the world.
That's why Herod was a nervous wreck. He had power and he was afraid and thought, “Someone greater than me is going to come, someone greater than me is going to change the world and I don't want that.” We know the rest of that little episode - that when the Wise Men didn't return he had every male child under the age of two killed.
It's not just a fear. Jesus says, “You don't need to live in fear, you just need to open up to that experience, that the Christ child is the Son of God.”
The other day I was shown a letter from a young man who is now serving a prison sentence. I knew the young man's parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. He had the HIV illness to deal with and he had inflicted it on other people and so he is now in jail. Writing this letter to his great-aunt and -uncle, he said, “I just want you to know that I went to confession the other day, and I went to Mass, and I am back going to Mass now each week here in the prison.”
He said, “There are about twenty Hispanics with me and three or four people like myself. So part of the Mass is in Spanish and part of the Mass is in English. Things have changed. I've been away for a while. But I can't tell you how good it feels when I came back to receive Communion - I knew I was home.”
He still has several years to serve, but he realizes now that that was his brokenness and he brought it to God. He is a very fine young man. If he stood up here you'd say, “I'd like to get to know that guy.” There is only one thing that can ever take care of any of our brokenness - we have to know the source of light. We have to know the one who has made the difference throughout the world. The problem is not God. The problem is our brokenness in every part of the world. You can go to Greece, you can go to Mexico, go to Germany, go anywhere you want - and you will see brokenness.
The real joy of Christmas is now. Next Sunday when we come, Jesus will go from a child to an adult and he will preach the Gospel that touches the hearts of every human being. He's reminding us, “Open your hearts to everyone. You don't know brokenness until you have shared the gift of joy and healing.”
So this morning, on this little Christmas, you and I are the Wise Men - they were different people. And the gift we are bringing is that we want to be healed. But that's the big question. We can bring our brokenness, but until we want to be healed we are always blaming someone. Jesus says, “There's no one to blame. So don't blame yourself, just come, and let me be the God in your life.”
Monsignor Michael Kuse is pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in Quincy, Illinois.