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Christmas Eve: The Blessings of Salvation

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Benedictus, today’s Gospel reading, is a beautiful summary of the salvation offered to us in Jesus Christ. It can help us make final Advent preparations to be blessed again this Christmas by the salvation brought by Christ and offered continually to us.

Firstly (vv 68-73), it states that salvation is based on the steadfast and faithful love of God expressed in the oaths, and promises made to the prophets, to David and to Abraham. This is a God who has been faithful to us for hundreds of years and in spite our humanity’s repeated unfaithfulness. God’s faithfulness to us encourages us and allows us to learn to be faithful to him.

Secondly (v 75), it makes clear God intends to form a priestly people “to serve him in holiness and uprightness in his presence, all our days”. Thus the enemies that the Christ will fight against and overcome are not so much military powers but sin, the devil and death, including fear of death (v 74).

Thirdly, to enter into and know salvation, to experience it, forgiveness of our sins is crucial. The message of repentance that John the Baptist (and then Jesus) will preach, is pivotal (vv 76-77). Nonetheless, the deepest foundation of salvation is the merciful and steadfast love of God (v 78a).

Fourthly, the Christ is like a rising light sent from on high. Christ comes to bring light and truth into the darkness of our minds and lives (vv 78-79). It is important to recognise our need of light, and to look to him and listen to him, contemplating and pondering his presence and words, so that we can enter the light of life.

Fifthly, the grace of salvation guides our feet into the way of peace (v 79). The graces given to us need to find practical application in our lives and conduct. We live out salvation in ways of upright living that bring us the peace that comes from a lived union with God. We are also to offer and extend salvation, and its peace and reconciliation to others.

Salvation is a huge gift. Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit to speak of it in prophecy and praise (v 67) while Jesus was still a foetus in his mother’s womb. Let us ask for the same Holy Spirit to fill us that we may enter more fully into salvation this Christmas, and praise and bless God for what he has done in Christ, soon to be shown to us in a new born babe.

- fr. Andrew Brookes OP

Readings: 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12, 14, 16.  Psalm 88, 2-5, 27,29.  Luke 1:67-79


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