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

December 25, 2017

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

The Nativity Of The Lord – Mass During The Day
Isaiah 52:7-12; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18

All the ends of the earth have seen the saving power of God because today a child is born for us Who radiates the glorious light of God. Today, in the humble village of Bethlehem, a son is born of the Mother of God. And His name is Jesus because His has come to bring liberty to captives and loosen the bonds of those who are heavy laden under the burden of sin. Because He is the Father’s love made manifest, He comes not to condemn us for our sins but to bring us to the fullness of life. The good news of this day is that because the Virgin has given birth to a boy, God is with us! Today, the clouds have lifted and we can see the Light of Life shining upon us in a unique and personal way.

In times past, God spoke to His people in partial and various ways, today, the Eternal Word echoes in our hearts. In beholding the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Babe of Bethlehem, we behold the power, wisdom and goodness of the Father because the fullness of the Godhead resides in Him. The child given to us today is the image of the invisible God (Cf. Col. 1:15). Because His chose to be born of the ever-virgin Mary and entered human time, He has revealed the Father and the Father’s love to us. As we stand before the Manger, let us adore the mystery of divine love in humble faith and behold the glory of the Father’s Only-begotten Son. He is the Eternal Word whereby the Father created all that exists. He is true God from true God for whom all things exist. In the Child of Bethlehem all things hold together. All fullness dwells in Him, a fullness of merit and righteousness, of strength and grace for us who are members of His Body, the Church. In the child cradled in Mary’s arms, the Father has reconciled sinful humanity to himself. In this child, we are shown the path whereby we can become children of God.

Today, the people who have dwelt in darkness have seen the birth of the Light of the World. Today, the people who had been deaf have heard the Word of the Father cry out to each human heart. Today, those who had frail limbs will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, and they will walk and not grow faint (Cf. Is. 40:31) because the Child born of the Virgin Mary has come to be our hope and the anchor of our souls. We are offered an opportunity to renew our faith that God love us and has become a little child so that we can embrace His love for us.  Despite our sins, despite our lack of faith, He emptied Himself of all the grandeur that was His as God and came to us to fill the hole in our souls and bring us to the fullness of life

Today is a holy day because a great light has come upon the earth, a light the thickest darkness could not overcome. The mystery of the Incarnation and the presence of our Infant King in Bethlehem is staggering. The challenge for each of us is to allow God to possess our lives and make His dwelling within us. The Word became Flesh to reveal the Father’s heart to a world grown cold and isolated. The Son Who is closest the Father’s heart came into the world to draw us closer to the Father. The Father wants us to live and that our lives be filled with abundant love. The light of reason, as well as the life of sense, are derived from the Light from Light and Sustainer of all Life. As we gaze upon Christ in the manger, may we look into the eyes of God and allow our hearts to speak words of love and devotion. As Mary offers us the child, may we come to know Love’s embrace. We must keep reminding ourselves that the entrance of God into human time was not one-time event in salvation history. Christ comes to each of us today because He hears the ache of our hearts. As He became a gift of love for us, we are called to become gifts of love to others in need. The birth of Christ was only the beginning of our maturing relationship with God and His people. The Prince of Peace has come into the world to teach us how to live as people of peace. The grace of God has appeared to us as an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes. As Christ is the image of the invisible God, we are called to be reflections of the Father’s love for the whole world. I will close with a Christmas Prayer attributed to Saint Bernard:

Let Your goodness Lord appear to us, that we,
made in your image, conform ourselves to it.
In our own strength
we cannot imitate Your majesty, power, and wonder
nor is it fitting for us to try.
But Your mercy reaches from the heavens
through the clouds to the earth below.
You have come to us as a small child,
but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts,
the gift of eternal love
Caress us with Your tiny hands,
embrace us with Your tiny arms
and pierce our hearts with Your soft, sweet cries.