daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, December 27, 2012
1 John 1:1-4, Ps. 96, John 20:2-9

"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 Communion Antiphon).

Today we honor St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, but we also continue reflecting on the mystery of Christmas. The writings of St. John help us in this reflection, especially the first chapter of his gospel, which is the gospel of the third Mass of Christmas. It is about the divine Word of God who existed with the Father from all eternity in a relationship of ineffable splendor and love. This Word is full of light, and in the fullness of time was made flesh to share with us the splendor of divine love in which he lives eternally with the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit. "And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace" (John 1:16).

Because we cannot see God, the Son came to make him known (John 1:18). Through the Word made flesh we can see God. Moreover, he came to make us adopted children of God by uniting himself to us. We who receive the only-begotten Son of God, believe in him, and are baptized, become his brothers and sisters by being united to him; and as brothers and sisters of the Son, we become the adopted children of God. "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13).

So the eternal Son of the Father, the Word of God, who is the light of the world (John 8:12), was sent from the Father to be born of a woman in Bethlehem to give us all a participation in the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). He did this by incarnating himself in our flesh to fill it with his own divinity and illuminate it from within with his splendor. He did this first of all in the flesh and humanity of Jesus Christ himself. Then his divinity enters into the humanity of all who believe in him to divinize them, filling them with his own splendor and glory, for he is the light of the universe. We are thus illuminated by him.

Moreover "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7), for "he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). His blood frees us from all sin, for it was poured out instead of our blood for our sins, thus paying our debt of punishment for our sins so that God could forgive us in all justice, as is fitting for God who is all just. And since he himself paid the price, his forgiveness is also all merciful, as it fitting for an all-merciful God.

So we are divinized by the divinity of Christ that enters into our humanity to transform and illuminate it, our sins are absolved by his sacrificial death on the cross, and we are justified by his resurrection (Rom. 4:25) in that the risen Lord now dwells within us who believe in him (Col. 1:27), with the splendor of his own righteousness shining in our hearts.

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