Let us become a Christmas people offering through the witness of our lives the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, to a world waiting to be born again.
The same Word through whom the Universe was made is the Incarnate Word through whom it is being re-created. That transformation will only be complete when all things are reconstituted in Him in the new Heaven and New Earth.
In this Child the human race is, in a word used by the First century Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons “recapitulated”. Glory has become Incarnate. He wrote: “The glory of God gives life; those who see God receive life. For this reason, God—who cannot be grasped, comprehended, or seen—allows Himself to be seen, comprehended, and grasped by men, that He may give life to those who see and receive Him.”
The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council affirmed: “In reality, it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man, was a type of Him who was to come, Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of His love, reveals man to himself and brings to light His most high calling” (Church in the Modern World, n. 22).
The Mass of Christmas day offers the Gospel of St. John: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God; all things were made through Him and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it…. and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:1 and 14). The words rendered in English "dwelt among us" are literally translated "He pitched His tent among us." He made His home with us.
As a pre-born child, Jesus sanctified all mother's wombs by dwelling within the temple of His beloved self-chosen mother. This is the greatest argument that Christians have against the horror of procured abortion. In an age which rejects the truths of revelation we also argue from the truth of reason, the Natural Law. However for those who believe that Jesus the Redeemer lived, ruled and reigned as King in that Holy womb, the evil of the taking of innocent human lives through abortion comes into focus. The latest instruction from the Holy See entitled “The Dignity of Persons” speaks of “Embryonic Persons”. God became an embryonic person and has forever identified with these smallest members of our human family.
In Eastern Christian iconography Mary usually appears with the child in her womb as “Platytera” (She who is more spacious than the heavens). The Icon reveals the mystery we celebrate. Mary’s womb was the Ark of the New Covenant and the Crèche a throne for the Lord. This Child was born into a real human family, the fulfillment of every promise to Israel. The Christian Gospel proclaims that the true God is more than an idea; more than the summit of all the aspirations of the human heart. He is more than a first mover who got it all started and remains distant. Our Gospel proclaims that this God wants to be in communion with us. “God is love” wrote the same beloved Apostle John in his first epistle. (1 John 4:7-9) And Love gives Himself for us.
Because He has been born, we can live "in Him” and we are given "power to become the children of God". (John 1:12) In the "fullness of time" God came among us. (Gal 4:5, 6) The Incarnation continues through the Body of Christ, the Church. His tent is still being pitched among men and women. We are called to spread the tent-pegs and make room in the tent of the Church for the entire human race. The same Word through whom the Universe was made is the Incarnate Word through whom it is being re-created. That transformation will only be complete when all things are reconstituted in Him in the new Heaven and New Earth.
On this wonderful day called Christ-Mass, the world pauses. The great event of the Nativity of the Lord touches every man, woman and child. The world is presented with the Christian claim---"the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." Let those of us who have embraced the truth of this claim and bear the name Christian manifest the fruits of the Incarnation and the deeper meaning of the Nativity of Jesus. Let us be a Christmas people and offer, through the witness of our lives, the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, to a world waiting to be born again in Him.
Merry Christmas. Incarnate Love is Born Today.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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