daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, Feast of the Holy Family, December 30, 2011
Heb. 11:8, 11-12, 17-19, Ps. 127, Luke 2:22-40

"Mine eyes have seen thy salvation which thou hast prepared in the presence of all peoples" (Luke 2:30).

This is the canticle of Simeon as he held the infant Jesus in his arms in the temple. In this child his eyes have seen the salvation of God, which he has prepared for all peoples (pantōn tōn laōn). In this child the glory of God appears, for he is the Son of God made man, the unity of divinity and humanity. Salvation is to arrive at this point of union with God through our connection to and relationship with Christ, who is God in human flesh. He is the incarnation of the divine Word, the eternal Son of the Father. "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father" (John 1:14). We see his glory, and we adore him, as did the Magi (Matt. 2:11). We adore him because from him we draw the life of God and our salvation. "And from his fullness have we all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:16). In this way he illuminates and divinizes us, for his divinity, contained in his humanity that we see before us, enters into us through our faith in him. Thus he saves and sanctifies us when, believing in him, we repent of our sins, and follow him with all our heart, obeying him in everything. And more still, he left us his human body, containing his divinity, as our food in the Eucharist. We eat his human body, divinized by the incarnation, and sacramentalized for us in the form of bread; and we drink his blood, which is his life, sacramentalized in the form of wine, for the life of our spirit. And so we see his glory, and draw from his fullness, and are divinized.

Today "all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God" (Ps. 97:3 NKJV). God "has remembered His mercy and His faithfulness to the house of Israel" (Ps. 97:3 NKJV) in the birth of this child, the Savior of the world, Christ the Lord (Luke 2:11). "The Lord has made known His salvation; His righteousness He has revealed in the sight of the nations" (Ps. 97:2 NKJV). In him, all flesh has seen together the glory of God. "And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" (Isa. 40:5). Christ fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah about the Servant of the Lord: "I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations" (Isa. 42:6).

Through this child all of humanity is divinized when it believes in him; that is, all those who believe in him will be divinized and illuminated from within and made holy and resplendent before God. Our hope is in this child presented today in the temple.

Today we honor in a special way the Holy Family, who guarded this child in the cave of Bethlehem, on the edge of the desert, and adored him in the silence of the night. He made them resplendent through their faith and proximity to him. Adoration in the darkness of the night, in the silence of the desert, is always important for every believer who wants to be illuminated, transformed, sanctified, and divinized through Christ; and the Holy Family in Bethlehem is our model in this. In their simplicity and poverty they are also our model, for in this way we can focus exclusively and completely on Christ with all our heart.

Let us imitate the Holy Family today and all our days in their simplicity and adoration of Christ the Lord in their midst.


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