|Friends, today’s Gospel shows how the light of Christ affects our lives. Well, light is wonderful in the measure that it illumines and brightens and delights. But light can also be disconcerting. Think of how bad most of us look in direct light! I discovered this while filming the CATHOLICISM series. I much prefer the indirect light that you can produce indoors. The full glare of the sun reveals every flaw, imperfection, and peculiarity of your face.
Think of what happens when you suddenly shine a light into a dark corner in your basement or down a lonely alley. The bugs and the vermin reveal themselves. Unsavory things scurry about for cover, afraid of the light.
When you invite Jesus into your life, you are inviting the light into your life. Again, this is wonderful, but it is also frightening. Jesus will shine his light in every corner of your life, in every room of your house. Things that look okay in the dark or in the indirect light will suddenly stand out in all of their unpleasantness.
|Friends, today we reprise the prologue of St. John’s Gospel, which we read on Christmas. The Word became flesh “and we saw his glory.” All the ways that the Old Testament spoke of God’s involvement with the world come together in this description of Jesus Christ. He is the powerful Word that will not return without accomplishing his purpose.
Now what is his purpose? Look to the prophet Isaiah. “The Lord has bared his holy arm in the sight of all the nations. All the ends of the earth will behold the salvation of our God.” Saying that Yahweh has bared his holy arm means that Yahweh is rolling up his sleeves to get on with the work.
Now take a look now at the manger at Bethlehem. Perhaps we see a tiny arm reaching out at random from the manger. “The Lord has made bare his holy arm.” And this anticipates another baring of that holy arm, when it is stretched out on the wood of the cross, revealed to all nations, just as Isaiah said. God’s power would be revealed in the powerlessness of love unto death. This is what became flesh on Christmas day.