Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God

Yesterday’s Gospel ends: “No one has ever seen God. The only-begotten Son…has revealed Him.” Ever since mankind’s expulsion from the Garden we have longed to see God again and to be seen in kind. We see this sentiment repeated over and over throughout the Old Testament, as we hear in our First Reading and Psalm today, with appeals to the shining face of God. We recall, too, how Moses desired to look upon the Face of God but was permitted only to see Him in passing, veiled in cloud, for none could see Him and live.

The shepherds in today’s Gospel are no different than we are; they, too, in their night watches, longed for the shining Face of God to illuminate their darkness and soothe their waiting hearts. It was precisely this desire to gaze upon the Lord and be gazed upon in kind that drove them, at the angel’s prompting, to Bethlehem to look upon the Infant there in the manger. Here in the stable the shepherd’s yield to the Good Shepherd; here those who feed the lambs come to worship the Lamb that shall feed them.

This is precisely the grace we are offered in Eucharistic Adoration, or even in simply coming to visit Christ in the Tabernacle, for not only have we come to gaze upon the Lord but remember, too, that He is not blind simply because He comes under the appearance of Bread! He gazes upon us, too, and with great love. Those first worshippers were shepherds who gathered the Lamb in their arms; in the Eucharist it is the Good Shepherd who gathers us (Isaiah 40:11). Go to Him, go to the tabernacle and the monstrance, go to the mangers of today where He lies waiting for you, to look upon you with love. Come, let us adore Him.

January 1st, 2014