Homily — 4th Sunday Advent C December 24, 2006

Homily — 4th Sunday Advent C December 24, 2006

fourth sunday of advent

“Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Elizabeth asks.

Who am I, that God would become a man and be born of the Virgin Mary for my sake?”

In many ways, the wonder and even magic of Christmas consists in that very question of Elizabeth in today’s Gospel: Who is man, who are we, who am I, that God would come down from Heaven and become One of us?

The one answer to that question has two parts to it. And we can miss the true meaning of Christmas if we fail to reflect on both parts of that one answer.

Part I: Who am I? I am a child of God, made in the very image of the invisible, all powerful and all loving Triune God.

According to the Book of Genesis, creation was “good” before God created the human person, but after God created us, it was “very good.”

And the rest of the created world is kind of like a big Christmas present from our Heavenly Father to us His children, all wrapped up in shiny paper with ribbons and a bow on top. We have been given dominion over all the rest of creation, to delight in it and make responsible use of it as good stewards.

Such is the dignity not just of the human race as a whole, but such is the dignity of each and every human soul from the moment of its creation, throughout it’s earthly life, and on into eternity.

That is who I am, that God should come to me: a beloved child of the Eternal Father, a God so madly madly in love with me that He was born in a dingy manger to be with me.

But that’s only Part I of the answer. Part II is just as important to realize, if not even more important in some ways.

Who am I also? I’m also unfortunately, but definitely, a sinner, born East of Eden, banished from paradise along with all the other sons and daughters of Adam and Eve, conceived with original sin, and blemished with personal sin, the image of God disfigured in me by the curse of sin and death.

See the apples on this Christmas tree here (in our sanctuary)? Fr. Blain told the liturgical decoration committee to put them on the tree to remind us of this fact. (He also wanted a rubber snake as well — but that got shot down– just kidding!)

But as we say at the Easter Vigil, O Felix Culpa — O Happy Fault, O necessary sin of Adam that gained for us so great a redeemer.

God became a Man to deliver us from sin and death, to cleanse us of original sin, to restore the image of God in us to its original beauty, to empower us to resist temptation and grow in virtue, and finally to open the gates of paradise to us once more.

As the Second Vatican Council teaches us, “It is only in this mystery of the Word made Flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear” (GS, 22.1).

My brothers and sisters, this coming Christmas as the shepherds, the magi, and St. Joseph gaze in wonder into the manger, and even as the angels and the cows and donkeys wonder along with them “Who is Man, that God should be born of Mary for him?”

May we kneel along side them and never forget, but come to know more and more fully, through the graces of this Christmas Season, just who we are in the eyes of the Good God.

Comments are closed.