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

December 27, 2018

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO

Feast of Saint John the Evangelist
1 John 1:1-4; John 20:1a, 2-8

Throughout the Christmas Octave, we continue to ponder the mystery of God’s love. The Evangelist John tells us: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). That which had existed before time began has taken flesh of the ever-virgin Mary and entered human history. The author of the Book of Wisdom describes the moment quite beautifully: “When peaceful silence lay over all, and night had run the half of her swift course, down from the heavens, from the royal throne, leapt your all-powerful Word” (Wis. 18:14-15). Thanks to God’s loving mercy, a people who dwelt in darkness has seen the birth of the Light of the World (CF. Jn. 8:12). In the birth of the Second Adam, God is making all things new, (CF. Rev. 21:5). The Creator of the Universe came into our world to do for mankind what we could not do for ourselves. As we take the infant Savior into our arms, and look in to His eyes, we will see the newness of life offered to us.

The Son of Mary is the Eternal Word that existed from all eternity. Jesus Christ came into the world to save us. The example of Christ is set before us as we look at the babe in the manger. “Though he was God, he did not consider equality with God something to be tightly grasped. Instead, he emptied himself of his divine privileges and took to himself the humble status of a slave and was born as a human being” (Phil. 2: 6-7). By the mystery of the Incarnation, the Eternal Word who was nearest the Father’s heart, stooped from the glory he had with the Father and lived among us. In his humiliation, we have been exalted. The Beloved Son took to himself our nothingness and clothed us in His majesty and grace. The Christ we adore in the manger will grow to be hated and despised. He will suffer persecution, go through the glory of the cross and will be raised from the tomb. The Word became flesh to draw fallen human beings into love’s embrace. Christmas is that sacred time when the timelessness of God intersects with human time.

Our works are good when they are guided and directed by God’s will and are done for the glory of him who chose to become one of us. In our works of kindness God’s loving kindness is made visible and tangible. Our gestures of love make the Eternal Word present in our day. Our senses, of seeing, hearing, speaking, proclaiming and even the energy to run like the disciples, to drive or walk can lead us to Christ. As we ponder the teaching of the apostles who declared what they had seen and heard we are given access to heart of Christ and find our resting place in Him. By the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit, we have been made in the image of Him who is the “exact imprint of God” (Heb. 1:3). I will close with a few lines from a sermon by St. Macarius the Great that was recently by Pope Francis: “God makes himself little! The inaccessible and uncreated One, in his infinite and ineffable goodness, has taken a body and made himself little. In his goodness, he descends from his glory. No one in the heavens or on earth can grasp the greatness of God, and no one in the heavens or on earth can grasp how God makes himself poor and little for the poor and little. As incomprehensible is his grandeur, so too is his littleness” (cf. Ps.-Macarius, Homilies IV)