A little over 22 months ago, my life changed when my nephew Liam was born. Our family rejoiced because of the birth of a new generation of Rooneys. We all knew Liam was coming for the nine months before that, but there was something about finally being able to hold him. We might know a lot about a person, but before we interact with them, we don’t know them.  But, when I was holding Liam for the first time, I knew him. I knew my nephew and I loved him. Encountering Liam for the first time changed life for my family and me.

Liam after he was born!

We know a human person through a human body. The person reveals themselves through their body, and the body reveals the person. Without even choosing it, Liam revealed himself to me and that revelation significantly changed my life – I knew I was an uncle. A new relationship was created.

Twenty-two months ago, my life changed because a baby was born. Babies always change lives. Two thousand years ago, every person’s life changed because another baby was born: A Baby who is God and who reveals God. During this great feast of Christmas, we celebrate that God humbly reveals himself to us by becoming a man. In that revelation, a relationship is created. God binds humanity to himself.

The radical claim of Christianity is that the Word who spoke creation into being became a Baby who could not speak a word. God becomes incarnate. He takes on flesh and blood. He takes on a human mind and a human will. He assumes humanity to himself. He became like us in all things but sin.

He is born of a woman, and through his humanity, we get to meet divinity. When we look at the little baby in the manger, we see the face of God. The infant Jesus lying in the manger reveals God. When he smiles, God smiles. When he cries, God cries. When he grasps the finger of Mary or Joseph or a shepherd, it is God grasping the human hand.

This is fundamental to Christianity, and if we recognize it will change our lives. On this night of the nativity, “the defenseless love of God, his humility, and his kindness came into view: he exposes himself to us in the heart of this world”[1] God comes to us in a way that we can receive Him – as a tiny infant.

When I pray and think about the fact that Jesus became a tiny baby, three ideas come to mind.

The first is that babies are delightful. They bring us great joy. What a joy it has been to see my brothers and their wives rejoice in my niece and nephew! They rejoice in each new ability – even the smallest hint of a smile from my three-month-old niece is enough to bring joy to our hearts. Every new day is a new adventure with a child. Children invite us to have a new delight in the world, but more importantly, they invite us to delight in them. Christ becomes a delightful child, that we may learn to delight in God as he delights in us as his children.

Me and my niece Cecilia (about a month old in this picture)

The second thought I have is that babies are defenseless. They are vulnerable. Harmed by sin, our hearts are defensive. All too often in our attempts to love, we have been hurt. Because of this, we place walls up around our hearts for protection. A baby can melt those walls completely because a baby is so very vulnerable. He or she cannot protect themselves. Babies do not threaten us. They simply invite us to love.  The child Jesus offers no threat. As an infant, he was not a threat to anybody. Jesus Christ depended on his parents just like every other child born into the world. He needed their help to live. He was small and helpless. He needed to be protected. Out of supreme love, the Word makes himself vulnerable in this way. The wood of the manger foreshadows the wood of the Cross. God opens himself to being harmed to show us that he does not threaten us but wishes to love us. From the Crib to the Cross, his entire life shows us this love. Christ becomes defenseless to melt our defensive hearts, so we can love him.

Yes, meeting the Baby of Bethlehem, we see that God chooses to become an infant who draws us out of ourselves and toward God. He opens the door for us to meet him as a person and awaits our response. This brings me to the third idea: Babies are demanding. Babies have many needs that the ones who love them must fulfill. Being a parent is demanding. When they arrive, babies demand from us that we change many things if we care for them. Parents and families have to mold to the needs of the infant in their midst. Think of all the things that parents sacrifice for their children: sleep, food, money, opportunities, time, their own expectations. Parenthood means living for the other in a radical way.

So also, the infant Jesus gently demands something from us.

The child of Bethlehem gently invites us to love him…and responding to that invitation love means changing our lives. He comes in love, inviting us to love him, making himself defenseless and delightful. If we respond in love, it will demand everything, and we will receive everything.  If we choose to love him, meeting this child will change our lives. It will mean a radical reorientation of our hearts to the love of God and love of neighbor. Love demands everything of us not because God needs our love but because in loving Him, we will be completely fulfilled.

Brothers and Sisters, if you have been far from the Lord, do not be afraid to let him love you today. Do not be afraid to receive the Christ Child into your arms. Look upon him, and more importantly, let him look upon you with love. He comes for you. Let your heart be melted by his gaze, delight as he smiles upon you. Then let your heart respond with love. He takes nothing; he gives everything. O come, let us adore Him.


[1] Benedict XVI, The Blessing of Christmas, trans. Brian McNeil (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2007), 71.


En Espanol

Hace poco más de 22 meses, mi vida cambió cuando nació mi sobrino Liam. Nuestra familia se regocijó por el nacimiento de una nueva generación de Rooneys. Todos sabíamos que Liam estaba llegando para los nueve meses antes de eso, pero había algo acerca de finalmente poder abrazarlo.Sabemos que podemos saber mucho acerca de una persona sin conocerla. Conocemos a una persona humana a través de su cuerpo. La persona se revela a través de su cuerpo y el cuerpo revela a la persona. Cuando estaba abrazando a Liam por primera vez, lo conocí. Yo conocía a mi sobrino y lo quería. Encontrar a Liam por primera vez cambió mucho la vida para mí y mi familia. Sin siquiera elegirlo, Liam se me reveló y esa revelación cambió mi vida: sabía que era un tío. Se creó una nueva relación.

Hace 22 meses, mi vida cambio porque conocí a Liam. Hace 2 mil anos el nacimiento de otro bebe cambio la vida de todas las personas desde el principio hasta el fin del mundo. Hoy, en esta gran fiesta de Navidad, celebramos que Dios se nos revela humildemente al hacerse hombre. En esa revelación, se crea una relación. Dios ata a la humanidad a sí mismo.

La afirmación radical del cristianismo es que la Palabra que habló de la creación se convirtió en un Bebé que no podía hablar una palabra. Dios se encarna. Él toma carne y sangre. Asume una mente humana y una voluntad humana. Asume la humanidad para sí mismo. Se hizo como nosotros en todas las cosas menos en el pecado. Él nació de una mujer y a través de su humanidad llegamos a conocer la divinidad. Cuando miramos al pequeño bebé en el pesebre, vemos el rostro de Dios. El niño Jesús acostado en el pesebre revela a Dios. Cuando él sonríe, Dios sonríe. Cuando llora, Dios llora. Cuando agarra el dedo de María o José o un pastor, es Dios que está agarrando la mano humana.

Esto es fundamental para el cristianismo y si lo reconocemos cambiará nuestras vidas. En esta noche de la navidad, “el amor indefenso de Dios, su humildad y su bondad aparecieron a la vista: se expone a nosotros en el corazón de este mundo” Dios viene a nosotros de manera que podemos recibirlo. Como un pequeño bebé.

Cuando oro y pienso en el hecho de que Jesús se convirtió en un bebé pequeño, me vienen a la mente tres ideas.

La primera es que los bebés son encantadores. Nos traen una gran alegría. ¡Qué alegría ha sido ver a mis hermanos y sus esposas regocijarse en mi sobrina y sobrino! Se regocijan en cada nueva habilidad. La más mínima sonrisa de mi sobrina de tres meses es suficiente para alegrar nuestros corazones. Cada nuevo día es una nueva aventura con un niño. Los niños nos invitan a tener una nueva delicia en el mundo; pero lo más importante es que nos invitan a deleitarnos con ellos. Cristo se convierte en un niño encantador, para que podamos aprender a deleitarnos en Dios que deleite en nosotros.

El segundo cosa es que los bebés son indefensos. Son vulnerables.Dañados por el pecado, nuestros corazones están a la defensiva. Con demasiada frecuencia se nos hemos lastimado en nuestros intentos de amar. Debido a esto, colocamos muros alrededor de nuestros corazones para protección. Un bebé puede derretir esas paredes por completo, porque es muy vulnerable. Él o ella no pueden protegerse a sí mismos. Los bebés no nos amenazan. Simplemente nos invitan a amar. El niño Jesús no ofrece ninguna amenaza. Cuando era un bebé, no era una amenaza para nadie. Jesucristo dependía de sus padres al igual que cualquier otro niño nacido en el mundo. Necesitaba su ayuda para vivir. Era pequeño e indefenso. Necesitaba estar protegido. Por amor supremo, la Palabra se vuelve vulnerable de esta manera. La madera del pesebre presagia la madera de la Cruz. Dios se abre a ser dañado para mostrarnos que no nos amenaza, sino que desea amarnos. Cristo se vuelve indefenso para derretir nuestros corazones defensivos, para que podamos amarlo.

Sí, al encontrarnos con el Bebé de Belén, vemos que Dios elige convertirse en un bebé que nos saca de nosotros y nos acerca a Dios. Él nos abre la puerta para que lo conozcamos como persona y espera nuestra respuesta. Esto me lleva a la tercera idea: los bebés son exigentes. Los bebés tienen muchas necesidades que los que los aman deben satisfacer. Ser padre es exigente. Cuando llegan, los bebés nos exigen que cambiemos muchas cosas. Los padres y las familias tienen que adaptarse a las necesidades del bebé en medio de ellos. Piensen en todas las cosas que los padres sacrifican por sus hijos: sueño, comida, dinero, oportunidades, tiempo, sus propias expectativas. La paternidad significa vivir para el otro de una manera radical.

Así también, el niño Jesús exige algo de nosotros.

El hijo de Belén nos invita a amarlo … y responder a esa invitación amor significa cambiar nuestras vidas. Él viene en el amor, nos invita a amarle, haciéndose indefensa y encantador. Si respondemos con amor, exigirá todo y lo recibiremos todo. Si elegimos amarlo, conocer a este niño cambiará nuestras vidas. Significará una reorientación radical de nuestros corazones al amor de Dios y al prójimo. El amor nos exige todo, no porque Dios necesite nuestro amor sino porque al amarlo seremos completamente satisfechos.

Hermanos y hermanas, si han estado lejos del Señor, no tengan miedo de dejar que los ame hoy. A todos: No tengas miedo de recibir al Niño Jesús en tus brazos. Míralo y, lo que es más importante, deja que te mire con amor. El viene por ti. Deja que tu corazón se derrita con su mirada, alégrate mientras te sonríe. Entonces deja que tu corazón responda con amor. Él no toma nada; Él lo da todo. ¡Oh, vengan, adorémoslo!

Published by Fr. Will Rooney

Fr. Will Rooney was baptized at St. Anthony’s Parish in Bryan, TX where his parents had been married. He has two younger brothers, David and Travis. Will received his First Communion at St. Anthony’s and around that time began to think about becoming a priest. Will was confirmed at St. Thomas Aquinas in May 2006. During high school, he actively participated in the parish youth group and was involved in robotics competitions. He and his brothers also raised poultry for 4-H and FFA projects. Upon graduation from A&M Consolidated High School in 2009, Will studied Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University. While at A&M, he worked as a Middle School youth minister and felt a growing desire toward the priesthood. In his senior year at A&M, he decided to apply for seminary, was accepted, and began attending Holy Trinity Seminary for pre-theology after he graduated. Two years later, Will was sent to St. Mary’s Seminary in Houston for theological studies. He served his pastoral year at St. Louis, King of France, Catholic Church and School in Austin (2017-2018). He was ordained to the Diaconate May 18, 2019, and served his deacon year at Our Lady of the Visitation in Lockhart, TX. He was ordained to the priesthood June 27, 2020 currently ministers at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin.

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