- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

Christmas Day Mass 2016

Fr. Isaac Slater, OCSO [1]

December 25, 2016
Christmas Day Mass

“No one has ever seen God—the Son has revealed him”

By his birth in time Jesus “reveals” the Father not as an object he points out or explains, but as a life in which we share.

Jesus invites us to share in his relationship of sonship to the Father. We are given ‘power to become children of God’, to live with his life.
We ‘know’ God, he is revealed to us, to the degree that he lives in and through us; he becomes more and more ‘incarnate’ through us in time …as we in turn are ‘deified.’

-It is the ‘kindness and generous love of our great God and savior’ that is revealed in Jesus Christ, a God who comforts, redeems and restores what is broken—by sharing our burden, assuming our brokenness and drinking it to the dregs… in a kind of excess of divine compassion.
In the past the word of revelation was partial and obscure—human relationship to God was fleeting and various, a confused reflection in a mirror.
But now the Mirror itself, the ‘very imprint’ of divine being has taken flesh; in him ‘the fullness of the Deity dwells bodily.’

Now what the Father says to the Son he says to each of us: ‘You are my son, this day I have begotten you.’ The birth of Jesus is the sacrament, the effective sign, of our deification. His birth is the birth of divine life within us: the ‘power to become children of God.’

“No one has ever seen God; the Son has revealed him” by making us sons in in his sonship; this makes us not only children of God but brothers and sisters to one another—Jesus IS this new field of relationship in which ‘there is no longer male or female, Greek or Jew,’ and we are no longer over against but with and for one another, with and for the common good, as Emmanuel is God with and for us.

Part of the scandal of the incarnation is that the all-powerful God approaches human beings where they are, and without the least hint of coercion—he respects the freedom of his creatures to an astounding degree.

He doesn’t require the tax collector and prostitute to first clean up their act, so they can come and enjoy a meal with him—he goes out to meet them in the messiness and complexity of their lives; he honors and kindles the first faint flickering of their desire for good.

This doesn’t mean he endorses their lifestyle, or pretends that what is evil is good; but he takes the risk of first showing kindness, hoping to spark a free response of love.

He knows this free response of love can never be forced.