Who represents us at Bethlehem? A homily for the Third Sunday of Advent (C)

0459Pope John XXIII was canonized this past year. I want us to think back to Christmas 1958, when the world was waiting to see what the new Papa Roncalli was going say at his Christmas Mass. It was the first time a Christmas Mass would be broadcast on the radio waves. He was a peasant pope, and no one expected much from his homily. But then he began to speak.

He asked, “Who represented us at the first Christmas?” He directed the world’s attention to the manger scene. He said it wasn’t the shepherds that represented us since most of us aren’t farmers. It wasn’t the wise men since most of us are kind of stupid. It wasn’t the angels, as humans can’t be angels. Nope. It was the jackass. The pope explained himself: “The jackass was always feeling sorry for himself. He felt frustrated and thought his life was too monotonous—meaningless. He was habitually u

nhappy. He would always walk around with a long face…”

I think about Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. That poor fellow was never happy! O No, I lost my tail.  Oh poor me.  We sound that way oftentimes.  Pope John 23 said it’s a shame we spend so much of our lives walking around unhappy, throwing pity parties, etc.  But sometimes what prompts this is jealousy….

You see, Pope John 23 went on to say that the jackass walked around and found a horse and wished he could be like the horse who could run so fast and was so beautiful, or like the camel who could go days without water, or like the cow who was friendly and could get along with everybody. But then the jackass kept walking, and he found a baby lying in the manger. He went up to that baby instinctually. He couldn’t resist. And then he began breathing heavily on the baby.

“After a while, the baby reached up and patted the muzzle of the jackass—as if to say: ‘Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for keeping

me warm on this cold wintry night.’ Now, for the first time in his life, the jackass was happy. He no longer felt sorry for himself. He had found meaning and purpose in his life, and all his troubles went away.”

Then the pope added: “For that’s the way it is with Almighty God. All he wants is the warm breath of a living soul. You give him that and he will take care of the rest.” He ended his homily: “So Merry Christmas, from one jackass to all you other asses.” hahahaha.

I share this with you on this Third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, becuase today the Church says: REJOICE!  Get over your problems for a day, celebrate and rejoice because we have the Lord!  WE are meant to be happy today!  To provide God a warm breath.

Happy third sunday of Advent