daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, Christmas Eve, December 24, 2011
2 Sam. 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16, Ps. 88, Luke 1:67-79

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David" (Luke 1:68-69).

Today is Christmas Eve. We rejoice today in the salvation of our God. In today's liturgy we say repeatedly, "Today you will know the Lord is coming, and in the morning you will see his glory" (Invitatory). Truly, today we know that we have a Savior. This "today" is the "today" of the Old Testament, the "today" of the time of John the Baptist. He announced the coming of salvation, as did the prophets before him, but tomorrow we shall see his glory. This "tomorrow" is the time of salvation, the time of the New Covenant, the time of the fulfillment of prophecy, our time now. This "tomorrow" has already come for those who believe in Jesus Christ. He is with us now. We see his glory within us in the joy of our heart, in his salvation, in the heavenly peace we experience from the forgiveness of our sins, and in the happiness caused by the Holy Spirit running through us like rivers of living water (John 7:38-39).

But in the liturgy, "today" is also Christmas Eve, the time of preparation; and "tomorrow" is Christmas Day, the time of fulfillment. Therefore today we prepare ourselves to receive the salvation of Christ tomorrow. Today we celebrate the preparation; tomorrow we will celebrate the fulfillment of his glory.

Seeing salvation as preparation and fulfillment helps us to appreciate what we now have in Christ. In him we have salvation from our sins. God came to earth in Christ to forgive our sins, to remove our guilt and sadness, to destroy the iniquity of the world, and to reign over us in a kingdom that has no end. He came to be our salvation and king. He came to reveal his majesty within us. He came to be our Emmanuel-God with us.

But to experience this we have to be prepared. We have to believe in Christ and follow and obey him. We have to repent of our sins and leave them behind. Then when we take refuge in Christ in faith, he will free us from sin, guilt, and sadness; and we will walk in his light. Then he will be with us, and we will see his majesty within us in the joy of our heart. "I am the light of the world," he said; "he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12). We walk in his light. Truly, "the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:78-79). Christ is the "sun of righteousness." If you fear him, "the sun of righteousness shall rise, with healing in its wings. You shall go forth leaping like calves from the stall" (Mal. 4:2).

So "sanctify yourselves today and be prepared, for tomorrow you shall see the Majesty of God within you" (Response, Matins, Old Office). "Judea and Jerusalem, fear not, tomorrow you shall go forth, and the Lord will be with you" (Ibid.). "Tomorrow the iniquity of the earth will be done away with, and the Savior of the world will reign over us" (Lauds, Ant., Old Office). "Tomorrow salvation will be with you, says the Lord God of hosts" (Ibid.). "Sanctify yourselves, sons of Israel, says the Lord, for tomorrow the Lord will come down and remove all weakness from you" (Response, Office of Readings).


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