Children of God

12-25-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

Merry Christmas to you! We celebrate today, after four weeks of Advent preparation, for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ who came to reconcile us to God and to teach us to love Him through our neighbor. Our joyful hope is fulfilled as we commemorate the Good News of God becoming man, born of a virgin as the prophets foretold, so that all men can become Children of God.

The Second Reading, taken from the letter to the Hebrews, reminds us of the difference the coming of Christ made in the world. In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to His people through human mediators like the prophets. With the advent of Jesus in the new dispensation, Divine Revelation has been perfected through His Only Begotten Son, the Word made flesh whom God made heir of all things and through whom the universe was created in the first place. He is the perfect revelation of God and He alone is truly worthy to teach us God’s will.

The emphasis on the Divine nature of the Son whose birthday we celebrate this day is corroborated by the Prologue to St John’s Gospel which is the Gospel Reading for the Mass during the day. The Evangelist begins by tracing the origin and nature of the Word. He (the Word), was with God prior to the creation of spatio-temporal reality, and was in fact God (His nature). All things were brought into existence through Him, and nothing was made without Him. When darkness (sin and its consequences) came into the world, He, (life and the light) had to come into the world to restore all things to their original good nature. The Word had to take flesh and dwell among us.

However, He came to what was His own, but His own did not accept Him. The world, through the residents of Bethlehem, first rejected the light when they could not find a place to accommodate Him at His birth. It is incredible that the Word of God, through whom all things were made, could not find decent habitable lodging among humans to be born. He ended up spending His first night outside His mother’s womb in a manger, a place only good for livestock. Next, the message of salvation which He brought was rejected by His brethren in the fl sh who would not accept his messiahship in spite of the many signs in His life which corroborated prior prophetic utterances. His kingship was rejected even as He hung on the cross, His mystical throne, paying the debt owed by humanity. He is, even to this very moment, not received by many who have closed the door of their heart to His love and have rather chosen the darkness of sin through unbelief, despair and moral recklessness.

Nevertheless, to those who did accept Him, He gave power to become Children of God. The Word became flesh to make us partakers in the Divine nature. St. Athanasius puts it succinctly “for this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving Divine sonship, might become a son of God”. Jesus came to elevate our status from fallen humanity to redeemed Children of God. However, this elevated status can only be appropriated to self by those who accept Him. Belief in Jesus and the actual demonstration of the authenticity of our belief through tangible acts of love and compassion are therefore absolutely necessary for the actualization of the desire for a positive appropriation of salvation to self.

Let us pray that the Word of God may truly take flesh in our lives and that His Holy Spirit will make our lives habitable for the Son of God who has come to dwell among us so that His merits may afford us all a place in God’s kingdom.

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Merry Christmas!

Fr. Manasseh