Today’s readings continue to encourage us to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. The main point being driven home is that Jesus, while being a man, was really and truly the Son of God. As John says in the first reading, God the Father Himself bore witness to the divine Sonship of Jesus. The Gospel reading recounts one of those moments, when the Father manifests Himself as a voice booming from heaven, saying to Christ, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased”, while the Holy Spirit descends on Him like a dove.
Having these readings today might feel repetitious. We know Jesus is the Son of God; that’s why we are celebrating Christmas. We want to say, “Yes, we get that, let’s move on.” In a way, we obviously do know this already. But in a very real sense, we don’t “get it” at all.
God is infinitely greater than anything we can imagine, and although His creation reflects Him in some way, He is utterly different. God is truly neither male nor female; God as such does not have a body. God is ageless, totally beyond time; God created time. God is beyond good; God is Goodness. God does not exist the way we do; God is “Being” itself. We cannot comprehend God. St. Augustine, one of the greatest theologians of all time, said, “Si comprehendis, non est Deus” – which roughly translates as, “if you understand, then what you think you understand isn’t God”. How then are we to really understand what it means for this God to become a man, for Jesus to be the Son of God made flesh?
St. Thomas Aquinas, another theological genius, concluded that while we should try to understand what we can about God, it’s much better and more important for us to love Him. As we draw to the close of the Christmas season, I invite all of us to take a moment to contemplate one more time the birth of Jesus, Son of God and Son of Mary. Let us allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by the mystery of God’s love, and offer Him once again the gift of our own hearts.