I love this, and especially with Fr. Petty's wake and funeral coming up soon, it's an important reflection to anyone who's ever lost someone. Below, one of his Christmas homilies:
All this business about "coming home" is not just some secular custom
that gradually grew up around this religious feast. The reason for Christmas is "coming home." God the Son, by the power of God the Holy Spirit, with the cooperation of Our Lady, became one of us, in order that we might "come home" to God the Father.
And all the happy home-comings and reunions that we experience in our lives -- especially at Christmas -- all of those homecomings are just a prelude to, if we are faithful, the great home-coming and permanent reunion we will have one day in heaven.
And for those of us for whom this feast contains some sadness, because some of those we love are no longer with us; we keep our chin up, and we never give up the faith and hope that those we've lost are still alive, though unseen. And because of this feast-- because of that Baby in the manger -- we have the promise that we will be seeing them again some day.
That's why we still kneel on this feast during the Creed, at the part about
Christmas. We don't kneel for the appropriate phrases on Good Friday, or
Easter, or the Ascension. We do it today, and remind ourselves that God
loved us so much that He became one of us, and shared fully in our joys and in our sorrows.
And that one day, if we are faithful, we will hear from Him and everyone
with Him, those two most beautiful words a human being can hear: "Welcome home."
Welcome home, Fr. Petty.