St Etheldreda's

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Homilies from St Etheldreda's

The Word was made flesh

Posted January 2, 2021

Second Sunday after the Nativity

When I see a tiny baby like the many who are brought here for baptism, something in me draws back in awe.  Here is something of God unfolding dramatically before my eyes.  Here is a being gifted with life and intelligence, straight from God’s hands, as it were.  This tiny bundle of flesh is a person, capable of reaching out to the Infinite, called to stand one day face to face with God. 

At Christmas time too we look upon a tiny baby. In this tiny baby, as St Paul puts it, ‘all the fullness of the deity dwells in bodily form’.  If we draw back in awe at the tiny miracles brought to the church for baptism, what are we to say of the mystery that is unfolding before our eyes especially in this season of Christmas?  In this tiny bundle of flesh the Infinite reaches out to us, embraces us.  God becomes human so that we may become divine; shares our death so that we may share his life; shares our tears so that we may share his laughter.

One of the Christmas Prefaces expresses it this way: ‘In the wonder of the incarnation, your eternal Word has brought to the eyes of faith a new and radiant vision of your glory.  In him we see our God made visible, and so are caught up in love of the God we cannot see.’  

We are surrounded by darkness.  Our faith is being challenged like never before.  Grief, bewilderment, fear, loneliness.  Religious people ask: Why does God allow it?  Some will tell you: It is God’s punishment upon the world.  Others will say: Yes, it is very bad, but some good things have come of it: heroic service, a drawing together of communities.  My own answer would be: We do not know why.  The only thing we do know is that God became incarnate in the Christ-child so that God could share all this with us, and worse.  Jesus knows what it is like to be surrounded by darkness.  He knows what it is like to feel abandoned by God.  But he also knows that out of darkness sprang a new and radiant vision of God’s glory.

Try not to lose faith.  May this Eucharist bring to your eyes a new and radiant vision of God’s glory.  Keep the eyes of faith fixed upon the face of the Christ-child.  There you will find assurance of a bright, eternal future and comfort in this world. Focus on that assurance amidst all the suffering, and make it the wellspring of your thoughts, your emotions, your daily life, the way your behave, the way you treat others. 

The Word was made flesh.  The Incarnation is not only about God.  It is just as much about you.

Fr Tom Deidun

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