Vatican City, 2 January 2013 (VIS) -
During the catechesis of the first general audience of 2013, which was celebrated in the Paul VI Hall with over 7,000 people in attendance, the Holy Father addressed the theme of Christ’s birth, “something so radically new that it was capable of changing the course of history”, and Jesus’ origin.
The Lord’s nativity, the Holy Father commented, “once again illuminates the darkness that often surrounds our world and our hearts with its light, and brings hope and joy. Where does this light come from? From the grotto in Bethlehem where the shepherds found ‘Mary and Joseph and the Child lying in the manger’. Before this Holy Family another, deeper question arises: How can this small and weak Child bring a newness so radical into the world that it is capable of changing the course of history? Isn’t there something mysterious in his origin that goes beyond that cavern?” …
“In the four Gospels, the answer to the question ‘where does Jesus come from?’ emerges clearly: his true origin is the Father, God. He comes entirely from Him, but in a different way than any other prophet or messenger of God who preceded Him. This origin of the mystery of God, ‘whom nobody knows’, is already contained in the stories of His childhood in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, which we are reading during Christmastime. The angel Gabriel announces: ‘The Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God‘. We repeat these words every time that we recite the Creed, the profession of faith: ‘et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto ex Maria Virgine’, ‘and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary‘. At this phrase we kneel because the veil that hid God is, so to say, opened and His unfathomable and inaccessible mystery touches us. God becomes Emmanuel, ‘God with us’. When we listen to the Masses composed by the great masters of sacred music?I’m thinking, for example, of Mozart’s Coronation Mass?we immediately notice how they linger over this phrase in a particular way, almost wanting to try to express with the universal language of music that which words cannot make manifest: the great mystery of God made flesh, of God made man”. …
“This affirmation of the Creed does not concern God’s eternal being but rather speaks to us of an action that the three divine Persons take part in and that is realized ‘ex Maria Virgine’. Without her, God’s entrance into human history would not have been achieved and that which is central to our Profession of Faith would not have taken place: God is God with us. Mary thus undeniably pertains to our faith in the God who acts, who enters into history. She puts her entire being at His disposition, she ‘accepts’ becoming the place of God’s indwelling.”
“Some times, even along the path and in the life of faith, we can sense our poverty, our inadequacy in front of the witness to be given to the world. But God chose precisely a humble woman, in an unknown village, in one of the furthest provinces of the great Roman Empire. Always, even amidst the most arduous difficulties to be faced, we must have faith in God, renewing our faith in His presence and in His action in our story as in that of Mary. Nothing is impossible to God! With Him our existence always walks upon a safe path and is open to a future of steadfast hope.”…
“What happens in Mary, through the action of the Holy Spirit himself, is a new creation. God, who has called being from nothingness with the Incarnation, gives life to a new beginning of humanity. The Fathers of the Church repeatedly speak of Christ as the new Adam in order to emphasize the beginning of the new creation with the birth of the Son of God in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This brings us to reflect upon how faith also supposes in us a newness so strong as to produce a second birth. In fact, at the beginning of being Christians is the Baptism that makes us reborn as children of God, that makes us to participate in the filial relationship that Jesus has with the Father. And I would like to note that Baptism is received, “we are baptised”?it is a passive verb?because nobody is capable of converting themselves into a child of God by themselves. It is a gift that is freely conferred… Only if we are open to God’s action, as Mary was, only if we entrust our life to the Lord as to a friend in who we trust completely, does everything change. Our lives acquire new meaning and a new face: that of the children of a Father who loves us and never abandons us”. …
“There is another element in the words of the Annunciation. The angel says to Mary: ‘the power of the Most High will overshadow you’. This is a reminder of the holy cloud that, during the Exodus, covered the tent of meeting over the ark of the Covenant, which the people of Israel carried with them, indicating the presence of God. Mary, therefore, is the new holy tent, the new ark of the Covenant. With her ‘yes’ to the archangel’s words, God receive a dwelling place in this world. What the universe cannot contain dwells in the womb of a virgin”.
“Let us return to the question with which we began, that of Jesus’ origin, summed up in Pilate’s question: ‘Where are you from?’. From our reflection it appears clear, from the beginning of the Gospels, what Jesus’ true origin is: He is the only begotten Son of the Father. He comes from God. We are facing the great and disconcerting mystery that we celebrate in this time of Christmas: the Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, became man in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This is an announcement that resounds ever new and which carries with it hope and joy to our hearts because each time it gives us the certainty that, even if we often feel weak, poor, incapable of facing the difficulties and the evil of the world, the power of God is always acting and works wonders precisely in our weakness. His grace is our strength”.
- Mary’s Faith in the Light of the Mystery of the Annunciation (parchment9.wordpress.com)
- Tuesday (January 1): “He was named Jesus” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- Thursday (January 3): “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- Video BENEDICT XVI: WHERE DOES JESUS COME FROM? (deaconjohnspace.wordpress.com)