Gifts Transformed

January 11, 2017

 

Without Facebook, Twitter, Google, Cable TV, or social media the birth of Jesus Christ is announced to the world.

 

Today there are 1.2 billion Catholics in the world -16% of world population. TODAY ALL THE WORLD COMES TO HONOR A BABY WHO WAS BORN IN A MANGER,

 

First -the lowly shepherds, the poorest and the lowliest in society. They would come to worship the child. Through angels, they were told of the Christ child Now, through a star, the rich and the powerful of the world come to bring gifts to a baby. Only God could direct a star from the sky to point out the manger.

 

The poor, always first, the lowly, and now the rich and powerful – all now come to pay respect homage to a child. What was so mysterious about this child? The one who created us, now comes to earth to forgive us forgive us for rejecting him.

 

Poor Herod, the Great Emperor, the King of Judea was known as the “King of the Jews.” He had power and riches, He ruled over Judea. He was evil- History records that Herod had killed members of his own family to protect his kingship; and now when the Kings said we want to see the “newborn king of the Jews”- it got Herod’s attention- was he about to lose his job? - but he clung to his wealth and authority.

 

Herod was so fearful of losing his power. He thought that this child would take away his power that this child would harm him--- Herod did not know that this child was born to save him. Herod would later be the one to order the slaughter of the innocents, in order to kill Jesus. Even the 3 kings did not trust the deceitful Herod—Our Gospel tells us that they returned by a different route to avoid the murderous and evil Herod.

 

Did Herod really want to know about the child? Was Herod ready to convert to having a heart full of love? No, he only wanted to protect himself. Bishop Sheen the great writer of the 50’s tells us that Herod is the model of those who want to ask questions about God, but do not want to pay homage to God. Herod did not want to repent or turn to God in a life changing and transforming way, but he only wanted to deceive God by making God think that he have the best of intentions.

 

Herod was delusional.

 

How could an infant destroy Herod’s power?

 

What a contrast!

 

Herod wore a crown of gold; Jesus wore a crown of thorns,

 

Herod had all the wealth in the world; Jesus was born in a stable,

 

Herod wanted power; Jesus wanted only to serve

 

Today, we acknowledge that true authority; true spiritual wealth comes from God. Today, we bring our gifts to the infant Jesus. By our presence here today at this mass, we bring ourselves to the manger. We bring not just our great talents, but also our weaknesses. We do not want power or riches, but only peace. And that peace can only be found in the poverty and lowliness of a manger.

 

The gifts God has given to each of us are now offered back to God for his blessing. Just as in the Eucharist, we offer what God has given us, the bread and wine- inanimate, lifeless objects, when we offer them back to God, they become the living body and blood of Christ.

 

So we bring our gifts, God renews them sanctifies them and gives them back to us so that we can experience love and peace in this life and for all eternity. On the cross, Pontus Pilate finally acknowledges that Jesus of “King of the Jews.” Today, we acknowledge that Jesus is a true King. Every gift we bring to God is transformed and renewed to change and transform our lives.

 

Praised Be Jesus Christ!!

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