The Word in the Eucharist: Christmas Vigil
The readings for Christmas Vigil anounce God’s great journey into human flesh and blood, express his ardent love for man, and assure us that God is stronger than all our sins. By tracing back Jesus’ ancestry, Scripture is tracing God’s great journey into our midst. Certainly, Jesus’ family tree is not lily white. King David, a great saint and hero, was guilty of adultery and murder; Tamar seduced patriarch Judah; Ruth was a saintly pagan; Rahab was at one time a prostitue... Yet it was from their flesh and blood that the Son of God was born.
What is God telling us then? That the worst follies and the worst sins cannot frustrate his plan; that he turns to goodness even the worst sinner who repents; and that he is not ashamed to join our human family despite its scandals. And most of all, God is making it plain that he has taken on our flesh and blood just as it is, but without sin. And God became our flesh and blood, which is precisely what we celebrate. As Adam and Eve became one flesh by marriage, so the Son of God became one flesh with human nature by his Incarnation in the womb of the Virgin Mary.
Jesus’ family tree helps us realice,once again, that God’s love is stronger than sin. Despite our whole history of sin, he came down... but not to punish us! Think of him there in Bethlehem, in need of his mother’s breast, and of the hearts of us all. He still needs our affection, though he no longer needs to be nursed at the breast of his mother Mary. We help Mary round up the work of the Incarnation by giving ourselves to him in Holy Communion, for we too are his body. Who can ask for a greater privilege, a greater love, a greater joy than that?
Then we will translate our joy into our daily lives, living like the body of Christ that we are. Jesus is patient, so we’ll be patient; Jesus is kind, so we’ll be kind; Jesus is not rude, or self-seeking, or quick-tempered,... so neither will we be. Thus we’ll have a merry Christmas today and all year long!