daily biblical sermons


THE COMING OF GOD INTO THE WORLD IN CHRIST RENEWS THE WHOLE CREATION
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, Th.D.
Homily of Monday, Second Week of Advent, December 10, 2018
Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalm 84, Luke 5:17-26


Biblical quotations are taken from the Revised Standard Version unless otherwise noted

 

"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God" (Isaiah 35:1-2).


This is a magnificent reading. All shall be made new. This is what God does to the world by coming into it himself. He takes on our humanity in order to share with us his own divinity. He takes on our body and blood and sacramentalizes them as bread and wine in the Eucharist so that we might eat and drink them for the life of our spirit. His body and blood enter into our body and blood, filling our spirit and our whole being with his divine life. As we eat and drink his body and blood in the Eucharist, we are daily ever more transformed into what we eat and drink, into Christ. His divine life enters into us and divinizes us.


We, of course, remain human, but now we have Christ himself spiritually and sacramentally dwelling within us for our transformation, making us ever more godlike, for his body and blood, his divinized humanity, enter into us, divinizing our humanity. We become humans evermore filled with his divinity and love if only we will allow him, if only we put our faith in him. This is what Christ does and wants to do ever more to us if only we will let him, if only we will cooperate with him.


Christ has come into our world to touch it with his own divinity in order to raise us up and transform us by touching us with his divinity.


We are now living in the age of fulfillment, the messianic age, the age that Isaiah prophesies about today. Isaiah looks forward to the beauty that God has given to us by becoming man and showering us with his divinity, sharing his divinity with us. God does this by his Son coming into our body and spirit. We eat his divinity-bearing body and blood and they divinize us too, when we receive them with faith. We eat and drink Christ, and the divine life that flows through his veins enters into us. His body and blood, sacramentalized as bread and wine, are divine and human and their contact with us as we eat and drink them fills us with divine life and makes us "new men," filled with God.


That is what is so holy about this beautiful Advent/Christmas season. It is the season when we see signs everywhere that God has become man to touch us with himself and make us godlike. How can we not sing for joy at this close encounter with God? It is like brushing against something beautiful, and something of its beauty rubs off on us, beautifying us too. Close contact like this with divinity cannot help but make us beautiful too if we receive it with faith.


Christ's beauty is contagious. As a joyful person makes us joyful by our contact with him, his joyfulness rubbing off on us, so Christ's divinity rubs off on us, and we are better for this encounter. We are changed persons as a result of this close encounter with God.


Isaiah speaks with images of the beauty that is ours. He looks forward to the fulfillment that we now possess because of the incarnation of God on earth, giving us actual physical contact with him. This holy encounter transforms us. It transforms the whole human race, the whole world, and all creation. God created and then transforms what he created. This transformation is what Christ is now doing in the world by his word and sacrament.


So Isaiah looked forward to the messianic age of fulfillment that began with the birth of Jesus Christ. We now live in that age of fulfillment, and we rejoice in it. We are especially aware during the beautiful Advent/Christmas season of how our own time is the age of fulfillment and salvation. This is the age of transformation and divinization, a blessing and a gift of God to the earth. This is what Isaiah, guided by the special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is trying to tell us today.


He speaks about the wilderness and the desert being transformed. We are that wilderness and that desert. It is the coming of God into the world, his incarnation, that is changing and transforming us, filling us with his grace and divinity. It is like a touch of gold. Whatever Christ touches, if there is faith, turns into gold, receives a touch of divinity, sparkles with glory, and is made radiant and bright. Christ fills us with splendor. We know this, we feel this, we believe in this transformation of ourselves and of our world. Christ came to transform the world by touching it with his divinity. His touch puts divine life into us and causes Christ to dwell within us. If we love him, he will make his dwelling place within us.


"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him" (John 14:23 NKJV).


During the Advent/Christmas season we see signs all around us of this glorious transformation that Christ brings to the whole world and to each one of us. Every town is decorated, every store is filled with wreaths, Christmas trees, and Christmas music. We see Christmas concerts and Christmas choirs on TV, YouTube, and the Internet. Everywhere people are singing of God's transformation of the world by the birth of his Son in our midst. What Isaiah has foretold has come to pass in Christ. He has transformed our world.


"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God" (Isaiah 35:1-2).


We have seen the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. All flesh has seen the glory of the Lord.

 

"And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5).


The Lord has come to ransom and redeem us.


"And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (Isaiah 35:10).


This is the age of righteousness, when God plants righteousness upon the earth and makes it spring up.


"For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations" (Isaiah 61:11).


God makes righteousness spring forth on the earth by making us righteous. All who accept Christ with faith will be made righteous and will shine with the splendor of God and with Christ's own righteousness. God will clothe us with righteousness:


"I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness" (Isaiah 61:10).


The age of the Messiah will be a return to paradise, where all the animals are tame and friendly and where the Prince of Peace himself, the Messiah, reigns overall. He shall be called, "Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6 KJV).


This peace will be profound on the earth.


"The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6).


In those days - that is, and our days - "waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water" (Isaiah 35:6b-7).


In these days of fulfillment, God says:


"I will open rivers on the bear heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water" (Isaiah 41:18).


"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert ... For I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise" (Isaiah 43:18-19, 20-21).


We rejoice in the rivers that Christ has given us, flooding us with his own divine life, filling us with it, transforming us, even divinizing us with it, as his splendor rubs off on us and as we see signs of it everywhere in all creation, in all our cities and towns, in our rooms and houses, on TV, radio, and the Internet. The Lord has come to redeem his people. We see his glory together, "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isaiah 40:5). So we join with the whole world at this time in singing God's praises.

 

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