Chapter Talk – Christmas Eve – December 24, 2019 – cycle-A
Today (hodie) we stand in the ambience and reality of the ‘first Coming’, of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, this great gift of God’s beloved Son. Today we celebrate this historical reality. And this is not all: Today (hodie) we stand with open hearts of faith as we behold the ‘second Coming’, the birth of Christ personally to each one of us and to the expanded horizon of our Church and our world. Let us never forget this: God’s incarnation is on-going and it needs each one of us, alone and together, to embody God’s life that is always coming into our lives. These profound words of Jean Daniélou encapsulate the Christmas mystery: “What was accomplished in Christ was accomplished only in order that it may be communicated to every person. Christ is at once he who has come and he who is to come. He is always the one who is to come….Christ is the Head, but his Body is still being formed. And the time of the Church is the time of the unfolding of Christ. What was accomplished in him unfolds itself in two ways: in each of us, on one hand; and in the whole of humankind on the other” (Prayer, p.72-73). This is the miracle: we, the whole people of God, are this unfolding body of Christ. That is why his continual birth in our lives is so important, indeed so urgent.
To repeat: Christ’s incarnation is still unfolding; ‘his Body is still being formed’. And this, dear sisters, is how our ‘yes’, our daily ‘yes’ given in faith, given in willingness, gives space for the One who is always coming to breathe more hope, more love, more forgiveness, more peace into our lives. With Christ’s life still unfolding within us and in the world, Christmas invites us to continue to be created and re-created in his likeness. The more Christ-like we become, the more our true self is born. Again, becoming more Christ-like is becoming more of our true self, a self that is more true and is about the truth, a self that is pure of heart and intention, a self whose love extends to one’s enemies, a self that hopes, that is always open to more self-knowledge and conversion…always.
Jean Daniélou continues his exposé of the ‘second Coming’ in these words: “We must allow Christ to pervade our souls to the extent that he becomes all in all; we must, according to St. Paul’s beautiful expression, ‘put on’ Christ (Rom. 13:14), trying to be what he was, such that we truly become his disciples. The whole of the Christian life is this progressive evangelization of our being, this shedding of the flesh, selfish and closed up within ourselves, this opening up to Christ’s teaching that we must follow” (p.73). In our humanity, broken and wounded, this is the stable of Divine birth, the stable of God’s Advent. To ‘put on’ Christ is to be evangelized, changed from inside. This is the transformative power of Christ’s second Coming.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). “The Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14)….the Word is still becoming flesh,…is still becoming incarnate in our world….God is with us and God is still coming to be even more with us in every aspect of our human lives and in the life of creation. Are we ready to give our all so that God may become all in all through our simple lives and through us for our world and Church? Let us together receive God’s gift with a resounding ‘yes’…For our daily ‘yes’, lived, is the clay vessel for Christ’s body to continue to be incarnated in and through our lives.