Fr. Sébastien PERDRIX, o.p.
Friday 18 April 2008
Sisters, last night, by a miracle of the liturgy, we were gathered all around the manger, witnessing the birth of our Savior and singing the first Christmas Carol with a multitude of angels: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests." It was a silent night… full of songs!
Today, by a same miracle, we are made witnesses of a birth, but a very special one: the eternal birth of the Word. "The Lord said to me: You are my Son; this day I have begotten you." That is really a miracle being a witness to an eternal event. An event out of time, without a beginning or an end. Such a miracle is made possible by faith. Faith is a light coming from above, coming from Heaven: a light which makes us present at God’s mystery through our intelligence and our love. When we say "I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father", we have a real and spiritual contact with the mystery of the Divine Word. Faith makes us, in a special way, see and touch the very realities of Heaven.
Christmas is really the feast of light: the light of faith. Because of the gift of faith, everybody has now access to Christ’s person. What was hidden is now revealed. What was invisible to the eyes and the heart of man is now visible. Every time we pray, every time we celebrate the sacred mysteries in the liturgy, every time we open the Scriptures, a light from above, the light of faith comes into our soul to enlighten it and to make us see and know Christ. What a marvellous gift! Through faith we are able to see, touch and taste the object of our love: Jesus Christ. We are able to do more, indeed by the supernatural gift of Charity, the light of faith becomes radiant and burning. The living faith informed by Charity makes us love the Lord in a divine way as children of God. That is what St John says today in his Gospel: "To those who did accept him, he gave the power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name, who were born not by a natural generation nor by human choice or by a man’s decision but of God." Celebrating Christmas is about the feast of our new birth as children of God, as children of light: the ones who know and love Jesus as Lord.
If Christmas is really the feast of light because of the supernatural gift of faith, Christmas is above all the feast of the coming of the Light into the world. Christ is light. Christ is the Light: "Light from Light, true God from true God". Jesus is the light, because he is the refulgence of God’s glory, the very imprint of his being. Jesus, the Incarnate Word, is light because he is the light of the world, the source of all light, all life which drives away death and darkness. "What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it". Jesus is also light because he is the source of all true knowledge of God. Jesus is the one who gives us the light of faith. "John was sent form God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world."
Celebrating Christmas is about the feast of light according to three complementary meanings. First, Christmas is a celebration of light: the divine one, Jesus the perfect radiant icon of the Eternal Father. Secondly, Christmas is a celebration of light, the one which gives life and destroys death. Finally, it is a celebration of light, because Jesus is the one who reveals to the world the true face of God and this revelation is given to us as a gift: the light of faith.
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