Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas Mass of the Day - Year B

Isaiah 52:7-10; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of one who brings good news…

Good is always beautiful – and that’s why the Good News is beautiful. And the beautiful Good News makes beautiful the one who bears it. This is what Isaiah meant when he said those fascinating words: How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of one who brings good news…

Beautiful … feeton the mountains

The feet, of course, belong to Jesus, who brings and who is himself – the Good News.

He comes to us from God, from heaven. His human feet which touch the earth are the feet of God. What a mystery!

Isaiah had prayed (63:19): Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down…

And now he is here.

In our imaginations we gaze … and ponder. It is only the humanity, the feet, we see; the divinity is hidden. How clever of Isaiah to use this image!

And how tempting to use of Jesus the words of the Song of Songs: How beautiful are your feet in their sandals; or to do as the ‘woman who had a bad name’ (Lk 7:38): She waited behind him at his feet weeping, and her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them away with her hair; then she covered his feet with kisses and anointed them with the ointment.

In this woman the whole of humanity finds a poignant expression of the love and devotion to which we too are called. How beautiful are the feet of God!

John the Baptist spoke with profound humility, in fear and trembling: I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals.

God had revealed through Isaiah that heaven was his throne and earth his footstool (cf. Is 66:1).

No wonder there were so many who threw themselves down before his feet.

The demoniac who: Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet…(Mk 5:6).

Jairus, the synagogue official, who came up: and seeing him, fell at his feet…(Mk 5:22).

The woman healed from a haemorrhage: came forward, frightened and trembling because she knew what had happened to her, and she fell at his feet….(Mk 5:33).
  • The woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit who: came and fell at his feet….(Mk 7:25).
  • And after the resurrection: the women came up to him and, falling down before him, clasped his feet (Mtt 28:9).
And no wonder Satan, full of jealousy, tempted the Lord Jesus: I will give you all these…if you fall at my feet and worship me (Mtt 4:9). How easily applied to Satan the words of Prov 6:18: a heart that weaves wicked plots, feet that hurry to do evil

Poor Satan! Did he not realise what Paul was later to make so clear about the Lord: He has put all things under his feet and made him, as the ruler of everything…(Eph 1:22).

Yes, indeed, he has put all things under his beautiful feet; feet which Satan, in a last ditch effort to stop them bringing the Good News to the world, would incite the Jewish elders to nail to the cross.

But all to no avail. Satan might more easily have stopped the sun from rising, that sun of which Zechariah spoke when he foretold that the Father: Will bring the rising Sun to visit us, to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death and to guide our feet into the way of peace (Lk 1:79).

Yes, when all is said and done we see that it is really all about ‘our’ feet. As Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles at the last supper he commanded them: If I, then, the Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you should wash each other's feet (Jn 13:14).

With these words Jesus gave us our mission: you should wash each other’s feet.

Satan as he does even today, tried his hardest to impede the spread of the Gospel.

So, following his instructions, he threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks (Acts 16:24).

Our Mass usually ends with the words: Go and announce the Gospel of the Lord. These are the Lord’s own words spoken now through his Church; words which we should take not just as a command but as a promise of power.

Let us go, then, as St Paul says: wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace (Eph 6:15).

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