The Bishops Homily – Christmas Day

Christmas Day
25 December 2016
Is. 52: 7-10
Heb. 1:1-6
John 1:1-18

Introduction: Our prayers today and all those readings show the significance of Christmas as “admirabile commercium”–an admirable exchange between the divine and the human. What does the exchange consist?

(1) Pope Francis explains the significance of Christmas in his reflection on the healing of the deaf-mute: “God is not closed in on himself but instead he opens himself and places himself in communication with humanity. In his immense mercy, he overcomes the abyss of the infinite difference between him and us and comes to meet us. To bring about this communication with man, God becomes man.”

(2) The first act of that admirable exchange comes about in Christ’s own humanity. The Word assumed our humanity and, in exchange, human nature was raised to divine dignity. The second act of the exchange consists in our real and intimate involvement in the divine nature of the Word. Thus, Christmas is the feast in which God comes so close to man as to share the very act of being born, showing man and woman their most profound dignity: that of being children of God.

(3) Christmas reveals the greatness of the humans and all of creation by the dignity bestowed on them by the “humility of God”. Our dignity flows from the greatness of God’s being from which we came. Thus, Humanity’s dream which began in the Garden of Eden – we want to be like God – is realized in an unexpected way, not through the greatness of man who cannot make himself God but through the humility of God who came down among us in his humility, raising us to the true greatness of his being.

Conclusion: The Incarnation teaches us how we truly are beloved by him and “how good” and lovely we truly are in his eyes. We need not be like him in power to be happy; we only need to accept who we are: beloved of God. This is what Christmas is all about!

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches