Savior and Messiah and Lord of all
The Savior comes with a great light to save us in an unexpected way. Now appears the grace of God.
Though he may dictate to the whole world, Caesar Augustus does not save, nor does governor Quirinius, an opportunist among many, not even king David, who gives renown to Bethlehem and his clan. Only God saves, and he does so in an unusual way, as Midian’s defeat shows.
God saves in an even more astonishing way through Jesus. What is astonishing now is that dominion rests on the shoulder of the child born to us and he is named “Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” Yet he is lying in a manger, offering himself as food, in a shelter for shepherds and animals.
Already at his birth, Jesus is in solidarity with the poor, not with monarchs who have in their palaces expensive cradles for their young (if they are like Caligula, their stables would be made of marble, with mangers of ivory). The new-born King cannot be mistaken for worldly rulers who shamelessly attribute to themselves the title “Lord” and call themselves saviors of peoples and messiahs or anointed ones, in effect, since they claim the divine right of kings.
But the son given to us is all that the angel announces: Savior, Messiah, Lord. His name means Savior; he is Savior by serving and handing over his life for all. His messianic anointing commits him to the mission of bringing the Good News to the poor. Hence, he will be devoted to comforting them, providing for their spiritual and temporal needs, assisting them and having them assisted in every way, as St. Vincent de Paul would describe the mission centuries later (SV.FR XII:87).
Yes, Jesus Christ is Lord, with a “Name-above-every-name,” because he empties himself, takes the form of a slave and humbles himself, obediently accepting even death on the cross. This perhaps is what “swaddling clothes” mean, never mind if the words suggest that the child is just like any other child or make a reference to burial cloths or specify that he is David’s legitimate offshoot, since in any case, the same point is made basically.
And unless we acclaim him so, we will end up expecting no one else but a monarch just like any other. We will neither glorify God nor enjoy peace. Nor will our proclamation of his death until he comes make sense.
Lord Jesus, give us your light so that we may recognize you in the poor.
December 25, 2015
Mass at Midnight
Is 9, 1-6; Tit 2, 11-14; Lk 2, 1-14