The Sunday before Christmas, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien celebrated the 10:30 a.m. Mass at St. Margaret, Bel Air.
His homily focused on the different ways the Gospels tell the story of the Blessed Virgin Mary with child.
“Luke tells the story through Mary; in Matthew we hear it through St. Joseph, and John gives us a wider picture, the great context in which the word of God took place, but the stories are the same,” he said. “Mary was betrothed, which was the same as marriage … and she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph finds out she’s pregnant and it’s not his child and he’s torn; he doesn’t know what to do.”
He told of the angel appearing to Joseph, and continued, saying, “God doesn’t make things easy for us all of the time. … It is through this disorder that God speaks, whether it is at Bethlehem or Calvary or the tomb.”
In our own anxious times, we find Jesus Christ. “We need to keep confidence that God will bring us through this,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “In our anxieties, in our confusion, we must find a place within us where God will speak to us.”
Otherwise, we risk becoming “practical atheists,” where God is not the center of our lives.
“Christmas calls us back to the mystery,” Archbishop O’Brien said. “God is very present to those in times of trouble through his son Jesus, who hopefully becomes the focal point of our life.”
At the conclusion of the Dec. 23 Mass, he thanked the parishioners and lauded them for their obvious involvement in the parish. He also asked them to pray for vocations.
“I think this parish alone could solve the vocations problem,” he said.
After Mass, Archbishop O’Brien was warmly greeted by parishioners, who enjoyed a chance to get to know their new shepherd.