Monsignor Yennock on the Feast of the Holy Family - Homily from December 29, 2019

Dec 30, 2019

FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY

DECEMBER 29, 2019

 

EINSTEIN SAID: “THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING WE CAN EXPERIENCE IS THE MYSTERIOUS. IT IS THE SOURCE OF ALL TRUE ART AND SCIENCE. HE WHO CAN NO LONGER PAUSE TO WONDER AND STAND IN AWE IS AS GOOD AS DEAD. HIS EYES ARE ALREADY CLOSED”.

 

EVERY HUMAN BEING WHO THINKS ABOUT THE MYSTERY OF THE UNIVERSE CANNOT HELP BUT THINK ABOUT THE MYSTERY OF GOD. WHO IS THIS MAGNIFICENT INTELLIGENCE THAT DESIGNED AND ORCHESTRATES THE GALAXIES, THE SOLAR SYSTEMS, THE SUNS AND THE PLANETS WITH SUCH PRECISION?

 

WHEN WE OPEN OUR EYES TO THE UNIVERSE—WHEN WE LOOK THROUGH THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE WE CAN ACTUALLY WITNESS OUR OWN GALAXY. WE CALL IT THE MILKY WAY. IN THAT MILKY WAY GALAXY WE SEE OUR OWN SOLAR SYSTEM.

 

AT THIS VERY MOMENT YOU AND I, ON PLANET EARTH, ARE SPEEDING AROUND THE SUN AT 186,000 MILES A SECOND.

 

THE MYSTERY DOES NOT END THERE.

 

SO FAR, ASTRONOMERS HAVE FOUND MORE THAN 500 SOLAR SYSTEMS AND ARE DISCOVERING NEW ONES EVERY YEAR. GIVEN HOW MANY THEY HAVE FOUND IN OUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD OF THE MILKY WAY, SCIENTISTS ESTIMATE THAT THERE MAY EVEN BE AS MANY AS 100 BILLION SOLAR SYSTEMS IN OUR GALAXY.

 

THE MYSTERY DOES NOT END THERE.

 

WHEN WE LOOK THROUGH THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE RIGHT NOW WE CAN SEE TWO TRILLION GALAXIES IN THE UNIVERSE.

 

THE MYSTERY DOES NOT END THERE.

 

THE JAMES WEBB SPACE TELESCOPE IS SCHEDULED FOR LAUNCH IN 2021. IT WILL PROBE THE COSMOS TO UNCOVER THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE FROM THE BIG BANG TO ALIEN PLANET FORMATION AND BEYOND.

 

ON THIS FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY WE OPEN OUR EYES WITH WONDER AND AWE AT THE GRANDEUR AND MAGNIFICENCE OF JESUS CHRIST, THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE, THE KING OF GLORY, THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD.

 

JESUS CHOSE TO EMPTY HIMSELF OF HIS GRANDEUR AND COME INTO THE WORLD THROUGH THE MEDIUM OF A HUMAN FAMILY SO THAT WE COULD FEEL CLOSER TO HIM. BUT, AS WE REFLECT AT THE HUMAN CHARACTER OF THE FAMILY WE MUST NOT MISS THE MAGNIFICENCE OF GOD WITHIN THAT FAMILY.

 

WE WANT TO WEEP WHEN WE REALIZE HOW WE HAVE TRIVIALIZED GOD IN FRONT OF OUR CHILDREN. WE WANT TO WEEP WHEN WE THINK OF HOW WE HAVE DARED TO MARGINALIZE GOD IN OUR SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES. AND MOST RECENTLY IN OUR HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.

 

WE WANT TO WEEP WHEN WE DISCOVER THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO NEVER WORSHIP GOD THE WAY HE DESERVES TO BE WORSHIPED.

 

WE WANT TO WEEP AND CRY OUT IN DISBELIEF WHEN WE HEAR A YOUNG GIRL SAY: “OUR FAMILY DOESN’T GO TO CHURCH. MY MOTHER DOESN’T BELIEVE IN GOD. SHE BELIEVES IN SCIENCE”.

 

WHAT A SAD DAY IT WILL BE FOR THAT MOTHER AND HER FAMILY, IF SHE DOES NOT OPEN HER MIND AND ALLOW SCIENCE TO LEAD HER TO THE LORD OF THE GALAXIES AND THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE BEFORE SHE LEAVES THIS EARTH.

 

ON THIS FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY, AS WE LISTEN TO THE ANGEL DELIVER AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO JOSEPH OUR ATTENTION TURNS TO THE MAGNIFICENCE OF GOD’S FIRST INTELLIGENT CREATURES: THE  SERAPHIM, CHERUBIM, THRONES, DOMINATIONS, VIRTUES, POWERS, PRINCIPALITIES, ARCHANGELS, AND ANGELS.

 

THE KING OF GLORY DID NOT COME INTO THE UNIVERSE WITHOUT AN ENTOURAGE OF WITNESSES.  FROM THE GRANDSTAND AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE A VAST MULTITUDE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST WERE WATCHING AND SINGING.

 

THERE COULD HAVE BEEN THOUSANDS OR EVEN MILLIONS OF ANGELS FORMING AN HONOR GUARD WHEN THE SON OF GOD ENTERED THE WORLD. THINK OF IT. IS IT NOT FITTING THAT THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE SHOULD BE ACCOMPANIED BY A VAST MULTITUDE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST?

 

TEN THOUSAND ANGELS ACCOMPANIED MOSES ON MT. SINAI.  MOSES WAS ONLY A MAN. JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD.

 

THE GOSPEL SAYS THAT WHILE THE SHEPHERDS WERE WATCHING THEIR SHEEP UNDER THE STARS BY NIGHT, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD APPEARED TO THEM. AND SUDDENLY A MULTITUDE OF THE HEAVENLY HOST WAS WITH THE ANGEL PRAISING GOD AND SAYING “GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST AND ON EARTH PEACE TO THOSE ON WHOM HIS FAVOR RESTS.”

 

THE POET SAYS THAT THINKING OF ANGELS CAN EASE OUR SORROWS, STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH, AND LIGHTEN OUR HEARTS. DURING THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON WE PAUSE TO CONTEMPLATE THE ANGELS WITH THE HOPE THAT THEY MAY EASE OUR SORROWS, STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH AND LIGHTEN OUR HEARTS.

 

IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION JOHN TELLS US THAT HE SAW TEN THOUSAND TIMES TEN THOUSAND ANGELS MINISTERING BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD. (Rev. 5:11, 12)

 

WHEN THE SOLDIERS CAME TO APPREHEND JESUS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE HE REMINDED THEM. “DO YOU THINK THAT I CANNOT APPEAL TO MY FATHER WHO WOULD PROMPTLY SEND MORE THAN TWELVE LEGIONS OF ANGELS TO MY DEFENCE? THERE WERE SIX THOUSAND SOLDIERS IN A ROMAN LEGION.   

 

ANGELS ARE WARRIORS WHO PROTECT US. WE GET THE WRONG IMPRESSION OF ANGELS FROM THE CONCEPTIONS OF ARTISTS WHO TRY TO REPRESENT THEM IN PAINTINGS AND STATUARY. WHEN WE SEE THEM ON CHRISTMAS CARDS THEY LOOK LIKE LITTLE CHOIR BOYS AND GIRLS. SOME OF THEM LOOK LIKE WOMEN WHO JUST LEFT THE BEAUTY PARLOR. 

 

ACTUALLY ANGELS HAVE NO BODIES. THEY ARE PURE SPIRITS. THEY ARE PURE INTELLIGENCE. THEY ACT AS MESSENGERS TO MEN AND WOMEN. THEY ARE WARRIORS WHO ARE PREPARED TO BATTLE SATAN AND THE FORCES OF EVIL.

 

WE MEET ANGELS OVER 200 TIMES IN THE BIBLE.  THEIR PRESENCE IS A WONDERFUL SIGN THAT EACH OF US IS THE OBJECT OF GOD’S SPECIAL LOVE.

 

JESUS SAID TO HIS DISCIPLES: "SEE THAT YOU DESPISE NOT ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES: FOR I SAY TO YOU, THAT THEIR ANGELS IN HEAVEN ALWAYS SEE THE FACE OF MY FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN” (MATTHEW 18:10).

IN THE OLD TESTAMENT WE READ THAT AFTER ADAM AND EVE WERE EXPELLED FROM THE GARDEN OF EDEN THE ANGELS GUARDED THE ENTRANCE. (GN 3:24).

AN ANGEL STOPPED ABRAHAM AS HE WAS ABOUT TO OFFER ISAAC IN SACRIFICE (GN 22). ANGELS PROTECTED LOT AND HIS FAMILY IN SODOM AND GOMORRAH (GN 19). AN ANGEL GUARDED THE PEOPLE ON THE WAY TO THE PROMISED LAND (EX 23:20).

ON THE FEAST OF THE GUARDIAN ANGELS POPE BENEDICT XVI SAID: "THE LORD IS ALWAYS NEARBY. HE ACCOMPANIES US THROUGH THE PRESENCE OF HIS ANGELS."

BECAUSE THEY HAVE ONLY SPIRITUAL SUBSTANCE BUT NO MATERIAL SUBSTANCE ANGELS HAVE NO SHAPE OR DIMENSIONS.  BUT DON’T LET THAT FOOL YOU. THEY ARE MORE SIGNIFICANT THAN THE GALAXIES. 

ANGELS ARE PURE SPIRITS. THEY ARE PURE INTELLIGENCE THEIR JOB IS TO COMMUNICATE HEAVENLY INFORMATION TO US. NO WORDS ARE NECESSARY. THEY COMMUNICATE WITH US BY THOUGHT.

“AND BEHOLD AN ANGEL OF THE LORD STOOD BY THEM

AND THE BRIGHTNESS OF GOD SHONE ROUND ABOUT THEM: AND THEY FEARED WITH A GREAT FEAR.”  ANGELS ARE TERRIFYING FIGURES. THEY LIVE AT THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE WITH ALL ITS LIGHT AND POWER AND DYNAMIC FORCE.

 

WHEN ANGELS SURROUNDED THE COUNTRYSIDE THEY BROUGHT A MESSAGE OF PEACE. THE ANGEL TOLD THE SHEPHERDS DO NOT BE AFRAID.  THE ANGEL SAID: LISTEN, I BRING YOU NEWS OF GREAT JOY, A JOY TO BE SHARED BY THE WHOLE PEOPLE. DO NOT BE AFRAID.

 

WE ARE LIVING IN DAYS THAT FRIGHTEN EVEN THE MOST COURAGEOUS AMONG US. THE WAR IN IRAQ IS OVER BUT THERE IS STILL UNREST IN THAT PART OF THE WORLD. WE ARE STILL AT WAR IN AFGHANISTAN.

 

TERRORISM IS STILL AN ABIDING THREAT. STREET VIOLENCE IS A DAILY OCCURRENCE. THERE IS ORGANIZED VIOLENCE IN EUROPE, THE MIDDLE EAST AND EVEN IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.

IN CHINA THERE ARE OVER ONE MILLION PEOPLE IN CONCENTRATION CAMPS.

 

IMMORALITY THREATENS OUR VERY CULTURE AS WE TAMPER WITH THE MEANING OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE-- THE CULTURE OF DEATH IS VYING WITH THE CULTURE OF LIFE AS WE NOW INCLUDE INFANTICIDE, ASSISTED SUICIDE AND EUTHANASIA AS SOMETHING WE ARE WILLING TO LIVE WITH.

 

WE ARE SADDENED ABOUT THE SCANDALS IN THE POWER STRUCTURES OF GOVERNMENT, THE CHURCHES, AND OUR EDUCATIONAL AND SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS.

 

WITH ALL THE BAD MESSAGES ON OUR PLANET EARTH, IT IS REFRESHING TO HEAR A JOYFUL MESSAGE DELIVERED BY AN ANGEL FROM OUTER SPACE.   

 

THINKING OF ANGELS CAN EASE OUR SORROWS, STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH, AND LIGHTEN OUR HEARTS. OUR FAMILIES NEED THE PRESENCE OF THE ANGELS TO EASE OUR SORROWS, STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH AND LIGHTEN OUR HEARTS.