VATICAN CITY, 5 JUL 2009 (VIS) – At midday
today, before praying the Angelus, Benedict XVI recalled how the
Sunday of July was once dedicated to devotion to the Most Precious
of Christ, a tradition confirmed “by Blessed John XXIII who, in
Apostolic Letter ‘Inde a primis’ of 30 June 1960, explained its
significance and approved its litanies”.
Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the
pointed out that “the theme of blood, associated with that of the
Lamb, is of primary importance in Sacred Scripture”, and he
Christ’s words at the Last Supper: “this is my blood of the
which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of
“It is written in Genesis that the blood of Abel killed by
brother Cain calls to God from the earth. Unfortunately, today as
yesterday, this cry has not ceased as human blood continues to
because of violence, injustice and hatred. When will men learn
is sacred and belongs only to God? When will they understand that
all brothers? To the cry for spilt blood which rises from so many
the earth, God responds with the blood of His Son Who gave His
us. Christ did not respond to evil with evil, but with good, with
“The Blood of Christ is the pledge of God’s faithful love
humankind. By gazing at the wounds of the crucified Christ each
in conditions of abject moral poverty, can say: ‘God has not
He loves me, He gave his life for me’, and thus rediscover
Lent ends before Evening Prayer, which is only said by those who do not participate in the Evening Mass of the Lord’s Supper tonight. While Lent is over, it doesn’t mean go and do whatever you gave up for Lent. Wait until after the Vigil :-).
Tonight, tomorrow and truly until early January, we celebrate in a specific way the incarnation of God. God the Son, the only of the Father, nine months having passed from when the Angel approached Mary and informed her of God’s great role for her in the salvific plan, was born into this world.
Jesus the Christ came into our imperfect world and made it perfect. He didn’t remove the imperfection; he instead gave us the path of perfection, the path toward him and our eternal salvation that was are compelled to walk. Our Creator did not impact our free will and we are free to not follow Christ, but if we are true to ourselves, true to our nature, we cannot choose any course of action beside the one that follows the path of Jesus Christ.
Whether we celebrate Christmas surrounded by the beauty of St. Peter’s on the Vatican Hill, or in a barn-looking church, or solely within our own homes, we should take note and celebrate that no matter when the first Christmas truly occurred (we all admit that December 25th was probably not the actual date, save some awesome divine providence), that all of human kind is changed now that our own creator, our God, took the form of the creation and walked as one of us.
His incarnation is the first of many things Jesus shared with all of us. He knew family, homelessness, good friends, betrayal, power, powerlessness, sadness, joy, but more core to us than any of those things, he shared with us our human existence.
Through him, we can know what it is to be divine. We make the mistake quite often to say that our goal in life is to be good Christians, to be good Christ-like folks. This is incorrect. Our goal within this life on earth is to be Christ to other people. Through our hands, our actions, our words, we can become Christ to other people. His incarnation mingled humanity and divinity. Humanity was joined with divinity through his birth, and divinity was joined with humanity through the first Pentecost.
During this Christmas season, let’s take a break from all of the craziness that exists in the world and this time of year, and think about what it means to have Word made Flesh.