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

Monday, January 4, 2016

Homily - Octave Day of Christmas - January 1, 2016

Ti. 2:11-15; Lk. 2:21

The readings in this Christmas Season show us how deeply our Lord, in His divinity, has entered into humanity, except sin, which He nevertheless took on Himself for our redemption.  Last Sunday, we had the gospel of the presentation of our Lord in the Temple.  He entered into the Old Testament law, fulfilling the requirement of an offering for the first-born.  The One Whom the law anticipated fulfills it.

In today’s Gospel, He enters into the ritual of the Old Testament for the initiation of male children.  However, this predates the law.  The law was given to Moses, but circumcision was given to Abraham.  First, Abraham received a new name.  His name was Abram.  Our Lord receives His name.  When we know someone’s name, we can enter into a relationship with the, we can call out to them.  We can find them.  God now has a name.  In our Lord’s day, a name was descriptive.  It said something about the person.  Our Lord’s name means Savior.  So deeply has He entered into humanity that the Savior is present to us.

But the covenant with Abraham was based on faith, and so our Lord, entering into this rite given to Abraham, brings forward faith.  St. Paul makes very much of this.  It is not the law that saves, but faith.  Even in the Old Testament, the outward act of initiation was expected to be accompanied by an interior conversion.  The prophets spoke of a circumcision of the heart.  Initiated into God’s people, they were to live godly lives.  This is what we see in the epistle today.  We live godly lives, justly, as we await the coming of our Lord at the end of time, a people God has prepared now to be His own.

St. Athanasius is the best on this.  He says that as soon as He of which it was a sign came, the figure ceased, and which is fulfilled now for all of us in baptism.  We are initiated into the Church by baptism.  St. Athanasius says that baptism takes away the whole of the old man, Adam.  It forgives us of sin.  But there is an aspect of baptism which the promises of old could hardly have imagined.  What are the three effects of baptism, but initiation, freedom from original sin, and, sanctification.  We receive sanctifying grace.  Baptism is our first encounter with sanctifying grace, as is every other sacrament.  Sanctifying grace is none other than the life of God dwelling in us.  And this is how deeply our Lord, in His divinity, has entered into humanity, that He shares with us the very life of God.