sabato 23 dicembre 2017

«Conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto»

On this Sunday we commemorate the events immediately prior to Christmas, especially the incarnation, which is not only an event, but the “mystery kept secret for long ages, but now manifested” to us, as Saint Paul says in the second reading.

The content of this celebration is the same as that of the Annunciation (March 25); even the readings of that solemnity are taken up on this Sunday, in its three-year cycle of readings (this year, the gospel of the annunciation).

The angel announces to Mary that she will become the mother of the Son of God. Which means: the Son of God will become man. John, in the prologue of his gospel will say: “And the Word became flesh.” Hence the term incarnation. We do not say humanization, but incarnation, to stress its physical reality. Christ is not a ghost; he is a real man, made of flesh and blood. The Church confesses her faith in this mystery saying, “Jesus Christ is true God and true man.”

The angel also announces to Mary how she will become the mother of the Son of God: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” In the Creed we say that Jesus Christ “was conceived by the Holy Spirit” (conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto). In order to become the mother of the Son of God, it is not necessary for Mary to lose her virginity and to have intercourse with her spouse; the conception will be the fruit of a divine intervention. The reference to Elizabeth is not for saying how the conception will happen, but only to show that nothing is impossible for God: if it was possible for a barren woman to get pregnant, it will also be possible for a virgin to become mother.

In the words of the angel there is another reference: “The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.” Incarnation does not mean that the Son of God becomes an abstract man, as it were disembodied, sexless, stateless, without a history, as the present-day culture likes very much. The Son of God becomes a concrete man, who joins a specific people with its own history and culture. Indeed, he is the fulfillment of that history: the whole history, before him, was directed toward him.

David wanted to build a house for the Lord. At that time the Lord answered him: It is not you that will build me a house; I will make you a house; I will give you an offspring. Now, not only the promise of God is fulfilled, but also David’s desire: with the incarnation, God establishes his dwelling among us; Christ is the temple of God among men.