• Gospel Reading
  • In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be! This is such a wonderful Gospel reading to have on the Sunday before the Nativity. “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ.” This single reading makes perfectly clear Who Jesus Christ is—it answers the questions that scholars and modern theologians, together with the bishops and Fathers of the past have all asked together. The question that Christ asks the Apostles—“Who do you say that I am?” In this morning’s Gospel, we have the answer from Christ Himself. The answer in the words of the Holy Scriptures, inspired by the life of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of the Evangelists. Jesus Christ is a Man begotten of a woman like all the descendants of Adam since the beginning of time. This is the point made by the long list of names that makes up 16 of the 25 verses from the Gospel reading. Who is Jesus Christ? The Apostle Matthew begins by telling us His ancestors according to the flesh. Beginning with Abraham, chosen by God to be the father of the chosen people. Following all the way through to the great Prophet King David, and to the exile of the people of God in Babylon, and finally to the birth of Christ. A man like any other, yet for some reason His birth stands out as one of the most important events in the history of the Jewish people to the author of this Gospel. He singles out the beginning of the people with Abraham, the high point with King David, the destruction in exile, and ends with the birth of Christ. After telling us that Christ is just like you and I, Matthew goes on to explain that He is a man like no other man. A man conceived not of a human mother and father, but rather conceived in the womb of a Virgin by the Holy Spirit. From the time of His conception, Christ was a man like no other. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, destined to save man from their sins. To be named “Immanuel”—God with us. In the person of Jesus Christ, God came to earth. Perfect man, and perfect God. As the Saints call Him—the Godman. Come not to judge, not to punish, not to investigate or experience. God came to earth to save people from their sins. He didn’t come as an outsider. He didn’t come and offer us salvation as a treat that we had to perform to earn. He became all that we are—perfectly human. And He remained all that He is—perfectly God. And in the combination of human nature with the divine in Christ, all mankind is offered the chance to touch God. To see Him as He truly is. The most amazing moment in human history was the moment that God, the Creator and Sustainer of all, became what He had created. When God chose to place Himself in the limiting body of a human male in Galilee 2000 years ago. The moment of the conception of the Godman in the womb of the Virgin is the most incomprehensible moment in all of human history. It’s when the life of mankind, damned by our own decisions, when the thread of our existence was linked forever with the life of God. God loves us so much that He didn’t just make things better, and He didn’t force us into some kind of humiliation to be saved. Rather He comes and offers us a way out of our bondage to sin and death—a way up. Raising us by His grace to leave behind the failings of the flesh and to be adopted as sons of God the Father. Meditating and praying on this Truth is enough to occupy a man for all eternity. As St. Athanasius said, God became man so that man might become God. We’re offered the very life of God, to share by grace in all that He is. As we spend the upcoming day preparing to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ in the Nativity Liturgy, lets focus on two things.
    #1—offering thanks to God for this saving moment in human history. (we were created to always offer praise and thanksgiving to God; think about the scenes of heaven described by St. John in the Apocalypse—angels surrounding the throne of God singing praises; and what are we doing here-celebrating the Eucharist-the offering of thanks)
    #2—supplicating in our prayers that we might choose to bow with the shepards and the wise men, worshipping God become man, and offering Him our whole lives.
    Offering our lives to the only One Who can transform them, and save us from our sins. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

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