Strange Times – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily December 24, 2020

“These have been some strange times in our days, haven’t they? Some strange times, how now we’re kind of used to ripping paper and putting it on our pews or bringing our towels to Mass or even wearing masks. I was talking to someone and I was saying I was face to face with them, but no, it was actually mask to mask. It’s not really face to face anymore. How strange these times are. Not only that, but I was asking children on their last day, what are some things they are grateful for and some kids raised their hands. They’re so grateful to be in school, in person. I don’t know about you, but I was never grateful to be in school. How strange, how strange. What a strange way to save humanity, what a strange way to redeem humanity, today we celebrate it, but how strange is it? The first reading today was from Isaiah talking about the one who would save them, who would come as prince of peace, counselor in wisdom, father forever, but who would have thought that would be a child, an infant? What a strange way to redeem humanity, a baby born in staw, poverty. Who would have ever thought that God would save the world through an infant, be so vulnerable, but how strange that is. There’s so many strange things happening in our lives that we don’t understand or maybe we start to accept, but even that, Christ comes before us as a child. How strange it is, but the great joy we have is that now God is among us. Emmanuel its name is meaning God is with us and that’s what we celebrate today in this great solemnity of the Church that the invisible God throughout the old testament is now made visible to us in Christ, that now we have a great example, a model to live our lives by, but how strange is it? We never would accept it and most people didn’t at that time, but it’s only the humble that can accept the things that they can’t understand or see clearly and so we’re called to that today to humbly accept God into our lives that despite all these strange things in our lives, even the strange way God has come to save us, to know that God is with us within it. Even asking the kids of this strange time, they all came up with things that they are grateful for and I know the same thing is with you that even despite the strangeness, the sadness of our world there still is hope and we have that great hope because God is with us within it. God is with us. Not only that, he wants to save us.

One of my favorite prayers that the priests pray is actually when he’s mixing the wine and the water together and the prayer that he says in silence is, ‘By the mingling of this water and wine may we come to share the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.’ meaning God, divine, coming down to be like us so that he can bring us to be like him. By the mingling of this water and wine may we come to share the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity. That’s the very celebration that we celebrate today in Christ being born as a child, being born among us that everything Christ did from this moment on we will be able to do to share in that holiness. So today we give great glory to God that Christ is born, Emmanuel, God is with us and in closing in memory of Fr. Charles I wanted to read one of his poems. It’s titled, Hidden Jesus.

‘Sometimes the greatest things
Come disguised without fanfare
You can miss them easily
You have to watch and deeply care

Like long ago on a quiet night
In a humble shepherd’s cave
An event occurred which no one knew
The world from death would save

Jesus savior of the world
Born in poverty
King of kings and Lord of lords
Hidden in obscurity

There were no royal tramplings there
Your courtiers were sheep
Your royal bed was made of straw
A goat sang you to sleep

You appeared in infant’s clothes
The mystery we assess
Son of God yet human too
You are the word made flesh

Mary hold you in her arms
Joseph is beguiled
Though you are the son of God
You look just like any child

Don’t let us miss your presence now
In word and in the poor
You are here in Eucharist
With us evermore

You come to us in others too
You come in great disguise
Your presence give to us O Lord
Faith in disguise

Hidden Jesus in disguise
Help us see you more
We bring to you our trust and love
We prostrate and adore’”