Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Sermon of Fr. Gerard for The Feast of The Nativity of Our Lord
Almighty God is Lord of all that is or can be in the world. And yet, he did not rule over the hearts of mankind that was growing under the miserable tyranny of the Devil. Before the coming of Jesus Christ this tyrant, the Devil, was lord and even made himself worshiped by men as a god with incense and sacrifices, not only of animals but of their own children and of their own lives. In what return did this tyrant make to them? He tortured their bodies and their blood and their minds. By the path of pain and misery, led them to everlasting torments. It was this tyrant that the divine word, Jesus Christ, came to overthrow and thereby release mankind from his retched slavery in order that unfortunate creatures, freed from the darkness of death, and enlightened as to what was the true way of salvation and serve their real and lawful master, who loved them as a father, who instead of leaving them as slaves of Satan, wished to make them his own beloved children.
Our Savoir Jesus was the only begotten Son of God equal in all things to his Father. But for love of man, he stooped to the lowly form of a servant, clothing himself in human flesh, making himself like unto man. And since sin had made men the vessels or servants of the devil, he came in the form of man to redeem them, offering his sufferings and death and satisfaction to the divine justice for the punishment due to mankind. Who would’ve believed it if Holy Faith did not assure us of it? Who could have conceived it?
But faith tells us, as we read in the epistle of St. Paul: “This supreme and sovereign taking the form of a servant, and he became obedient unto death, even to the death on the cross. From his childhood, the Redeemer, by becoming a servant, was eager to begin to wretch from the devil that dominion, which he had over man.”
“Behold Jesus, scarcely born.” Says the Venerable Bede, the doctor of the Church who lived in England in the early middle ages. Before he is registered in the census of Caesar and for our liberation is himself written down in the list of servitude, see how he begins to pay off our debts by his sufferings, how he allows himself to be wrapped in swiveling clothes, a prefiguration of the cords which should bind him at a latter date, to be led to death by cruel executioners. Bound then in these swiveling clothes and turning to us, Jesus invites us to unite ourselves closely to him, with the sweet bonds of love. And turning also to his eternal Father he says: “My Father, men have abused their liberty and rebound against thee have made themselves the slaves of sins. But I to make satisfaction for their disobedience are willing to be bound and confined in swiveling bands behold that for these, Heavenly Father, I offer thee my liberty in order that man may be delivered from slavery of the Devil. I offer myself to be, one day, bound and led to death, for the salvation of men.”
Seeing how much our dear Jesus has done for us, even from the first moments of his life, let us do, as St. Francis of Assisi exhorts us, and say: “Let us love the Babe of Bethlehem, Let us love the Babe of Bethlehem.”
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.