Skip to main content

A new kind of light

(Is 52.7-10; Heb 6.1-6; Jn 1.1-18)

We of the West owe great debts to ancient, imperial Rome: law, administration, architecture, military engineering and literature. Yet a dark shadow broods over all of this. Each was borne out of and backed up by brutal force and the ruthless despotism of puppet kings such as Herod the Great.

Today’s liturgy is a triumphant repudiation of this heritage and is shot through with the imagery of a different order of glory: light, transparency, radiance. True, such glory is that of the angel army shining in the skies over Bethlehem and the radiance on the face of the new mother, Mary. Yet even more it was the dawning of a new awareness that the black pall of Rome was to be broken irresistibly, irretrievably.

The first freedom would be a new type of peace (Is 52.7), brought about by a new type of human, one who would shine as a light that would never be extinguished (1 Jn 5); one who would put to flight the fear of death (Jn 1.4); one whose word cast aside fear to illuminate the truth of God’s presence in this world (Heb 1.3); and one who would destroy the sway of sin and weakness.

So, brothers and sisters, that is why we rejoice this Christmas day. No matter what trials and evils beset us, Christ’s coming heralds the ultimate victory of light and truth – and ours with it.

Source: Christmas Day

This Sunday