Homily for December 24
(9th Simbang Gabi)
It feels good to be remembered! What would you feel, let us say today is your birthday but no one among your friends and in your family members ever greeted you. It looks like they have forgotten that it’s your birthday today? In one way or another, it seems that we all have the need to be remembered.
Yesterday, a classmate of mine whom I have not seen for almost five years called me up from Germany where he is assigned to extend his Christmas greetings in advance. I felt so happy that he gets in touch. So I said to him, “Thank you for remembering me this Christmas!”
The theme of “Remembrance” also constitutes the theme of our Gospel today where Zechariah extolled the greatness of God by a song of praise, the Benedictus in which he said, “He promised to show mercy to our Fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he made to our fathers…” Zechariah praised God for having remembered to fulfill his promises of salvation to God’s people. This is also what the first reading reminds us of, makes us remember as given to David, that is, from his house will come God’s great act of “remembrance”, the birth of the Messiah, what the Scriptures refer to as “the root of Jesse” in order to fulfill his promise of salvation.
Christmas too is part of God’s remembrances for the birth of the Son of God sends us the message that the Father constantly remembers us and will never abandon us. So Jesus is Immanuel, meaning, God is with us!
Very important is the fact that the Holy Mass is God’s daily and constant remembrance. The Euharistic Prayer of Consecration says it well: “Do this in remembrance of me.” In fact, all sacraments consist of or are all about the remembrance of Christ and his salvific act. No sacrament is valid unless it commemorates the Paschal Mystery.
So the Church is a sacrament because by her life she enables the faithful and others to recall Christ’s redemptive act. Each community or family too can be a sacrament of remembrance by the manner it witnesses to Christ gift of redemption.
Now, it is possible for us to remember Christ because God has remembered us first.