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CHRIST IS THE LIGHT OF ALL PEOPLES
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, Fifth day in the Octave of Christmas, December 29, 2011
1 John 2:3-11, Ps. 95, Luke 2:22-35


"Mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to thy people Israel" (Luke 2:30-32).


The Christ child is presented in the temple today, and Simeon receives him, and taking him in his arms, blesses God, saying that this child is the light of the Gentiles, of the nations, of the peoples (ethnōn). Jesus Christ is the light of God for all peoples. So did Isaiah prophesy: "It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth" (Isa. 49:6). Christ is the light of God for all the peoples of the world, for "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). "I am the way, and the truth, and the life," said Jesus, "no one comes to the Father, but by me" (John 14:6).


"He is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (John 2:2). He is the one "whom God put forth as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins" (Rom. 3:25). It seems like God just passed over the sins of the Old Testament without a just expiation being paid for them; but he did this because in the fullness of time he would adequately expiate them in the death of his Son on the cross. The just penalty and punishment for all sins was paid and suffered by the Son of God on the cross. God justly punished all sin in the death of his Son on the cross. "Sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:3-4). God "condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3) of his Son Jesus Christ, and in this way "the just requirement of the law" (Rom. 8:4) was fulfilled by him on our behalf-was "fulfilled in us" (Rom. 8:4). In this way Christ absorbed the curse of the law for us. "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, ‘Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree'-" (Gal. 3:13). God put our sins on Jesus so that we might have the righteousness of Jesus in us: "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21).


Christ is thus the light of all the peoples of the world. He removes from us our sin and guilt, which cripple our spirit and depress us, and he illuminates and transforms us. In Christ "the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining" (1 John 2:8). We therefore wish to preach Christ everywhere for the remission of sins, the removal of guilt, and for the illumination of all the peoples of the world.

 

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