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Sunday’s Readings: All Things

O Oriens (Mosaic from the basilica of the Sacred Heart in Krakow) | Lawrence Lew, O.P./Flickr

1 Christmas, Year B, December 31

Isa. 61:10-62:3
Ps. 147 or 147:13-21
Gal. 3:23-25; 4:4-7
John 1:1-18

In the Festival of Our Lord’s Nativity, we turned our attention to the newborn child and, in a sense, made our pilgrimage to the holy family. We were the astrologers from the east who saw a miraculous star directing them to the place of Christ’s arrival. We presented the gifts of all our faith, hope, and love. We were the shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night who heard the announcement: “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people” (Luke 2:10). Indeed, in our mind’s eye, we went up to Bethlehem to see this thing that was taking place. We cast our contemplative gaze upon the infant Son of God.

Rightly, we have been struck again by the miracle of this visitation and all that it means for us. With Leo the Great, we may think and feel this astounding affirmation: “Acknowledge, O Christian, your dignity, and, having become a participant of the divine nature, do not, by an ignoble conversion, return to the old worthlessness [sin]. Remember of whose head and body you are a member. Remember that you have been drawn out from the power of darkness and translated into the light and kingdom of God” (Sermo 1 in Nativitate Domini, my translation). Yes, we are called to remember our worth as human beings created in the image and likeness of God, as persons redeemed by the Son of God, as temples in whom the Spirit of the Son of God dwells.

We see all this and more. We see the Son of God not only in our lives, but in all things. St. John, in his prologue, takes us into the Godhead before creation and then tells us that creation came into being through the Eternal Son of the Father. “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 came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What came into being was life, and the life was the light of all people” (John 1:1-4). Creation is the free and loving gift of the Son — the Son, we might say, writing the book of nature. In the words of St. Paul, “Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made” (Rom. 1:20). The Son is the Logos, the Word who gives meaning and structure and purpose to all things. We may, therefore, meet Jesus everywhere, and indeed we should, especially in the fecund mysteries of creation.

Today, we lift up our hearts to the Son of God sacramentally seared into the fabric of being. Listen to the psalmist! “He covers the heavens with clouds, prepares rain for the earth, makes grass to grow on the hills. He gives to the animals their food, and to the young ravens when they cry. His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the speed of a runner; … He gives snow like wool; he scatters frost like ashes. He hurls down hail like crumbs — who can stand before his cold? He sends out his word, and melts them; he makes his wind blow, and the waters flow” (Ps. 147:8-10, 16-19).

The prophet Isaiah, announcing a day of deliverance, turns to metaphors of nature. “For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations” (Isa. 61:11).

Jesus Christ is everywhere to be seen, for all things came into being through him.

Look It Up: John 1:16

Think About It: Espying Christ among things is an endless joy, a grace upon grace.


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