Fr. Tom, 12-25-16

Dear Loyola Parishioners and Visitors,
Christmas Day.  Whether we are Christians or not, the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the life of Jesus of Nazareth, the death of Jesus of Nazareth altered human history.  Jesus’ companions and their disciples formed a sect that became a religion that spread throughout the world.  Like the Pope and Dalai Lama, Jesus is recognized as a spiritual leader close to God, a model of holiness and spiritual wisdom. Whether one believes He is Risen or Son of God or Messiah is another matter altogether.  People acknowledge that the person of Jesus, who He is, how He is understood, what He means for humanity, has been a recurrent theme through the centuries.

For those among us who have said, “I will follow Him.  I will follow Him as the model for my humanity.  I will follow Him as the unique revelation of God”, Jesus is born anew each time we return to His birth and rededicate ourselves to following Him, modelling Him, living like Him.  While others see nothing but a child in His birth, we see a child who grew up and showed us the way to live lives of love, compassion, open-heartedness, forgiveness, justice and non-violence.  This child came to show us how to change the world.  It begins with changing ourselves, our perception of reality, our imaginations, our visions, our  interior and exterior lives.  And, change is hard and slow and incomplete until it isn’t.

And, how do we and/or others come to dedicate ourselves to following Him?  The same way His followers and subsequent generations of men and women came to be His followers, we/they experience Jesus alive.  We/they experience Jesus alive within themselves but outside
themselves.  And, that experience leads to submission, to the submission of one’s self to love, to the submission of one’s self to total trust of the other, to the submission of one’s self knowing it just feels right and safe to do so.

Once again, accept the invitation of Christmas to allow this child to enter your lives so deeply that, like a newborn, He takes control of your lives and alters your personal history and the world’s going forward.

Have a blessed Christmas!
Fr. Tom