Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Homily - Christmas - December 25, 2015

Heb. 1:1-12; Jn. 1:1-14

One would think that the Gospel today would be that of the nativity, with the beautiful and familiar scene of Mary, Joseph, and the Infant in the manger.  In fact, that was the Gospel for midnight Mass, and this morning at dawn, that of the shepherds.  This is the birth of our Lord of Mary.  It shows that He is truly human, born of a mother, at a specific place and time.

What we have today in the prologue of the Gospel of St. John is the generation of our Lord from the Father.  We profess this in the Nicene Creed, from 325, when we say that Christ is “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father.”  That word, “consubstantial,” is a specifically Catholic word, developed by St. Athanasius to signify the unique relationship between Christ and the Father.  He is of the same substance as the Father, co-equal, and co-eternal.  He is truly God, yet distinct from the Father, the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity.  And this is what we see in the Gospel today.

St. Augustine, a century later, comments on this Gospel, and helps us to see it.  He points out that in this Gospel, our Lord is referred to as the Word.  A word is the expression of an idea.  If we communicate well, the word is a perfect expression of the idea, and yet it is distinct from the idea.  Christ is the perfect revelation of the Father, but He is distinct from the Father.  He is referred to as the Son.  We get our nature from our fathers.  Our fathers, Adam and Eve, sinned, and so we have received a fallen human nature.  Christ receives His nature from the Father, Who is divine and eternal.  And so Christ is divine and eternal by nature, yet begotten, that is, distinct from the Father.  He is referred to as the Light.  Light receives its existence from the flame.  And yet, as soon as the flame appears the light appears, and the flame cannot exist without generating light.  And so Christ is co-eternal with the Father, while yet being distinct from the Father.

And so this is Christ—the Word, the Son, the Light—born in time and truly human, and yet “begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father,” existing from all eternity, truly God.  But there is more.  By His birth and incarnation, Christ has also become consubstantial with a human nature.  What He has touched, He is able to heal and renew, and so He heals and renews us.  The Gospel today tells us that all things came to be in Him.  He is the Logos by which creation was made.  But it tells us what else came to be in Him, that “as many as received Him, to them He gave the power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in His name.”  He was born the Only Begotten Son, but He was not to remain so, and He did not grudge others to share in that sonship, nor was it diminished by many sharing in it.  By His birth and incarnation, cross and resurrection, He shares His whole life and inheritance with us.  And by our faith and the sacraments we enter into that sonship.  This is the gift of Christmas, this is the largess and magnanimity of God, that Christ, consubstantial with the Father, has become consubstantial in a human nature, truly God and truly man, and has shared with us the whole life of God.  In the readings of the Christmas and Epiphany seasons, we will see how completely our Lord entered into humanity, except sin, which He nevertheless took upon Himself to redeem us.

And so there are three ways in which we celebrate Christmas today, the birth of our Lord in history at a place and time.  His eternal emanation from the Father.  With God there is no time, so He is always being begotten.  And in the Eucharist, this Mass and every Mass, where, sacramentally, the Lord is made present, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, the Word made flesh.