Modern man -- a man of "the sensible," of the empirically verifiable -- finds it increasingly more difficult to open his horizons and enter the world of God. The Redemption of mankind certainly took place at a precise and identifiable moment in history: in the event of Jesus of Nazareth. But Jesus is the Son of God -- He is God Himself, who not only spoke to man, showed him wondrous signs and guided him throughout the history of salvation -- but became man and remains man. The Eternal entered into the limits of time and space, in order to make possible an encounter with Him "today."
The liturgical texts of Christmas help us to understand that the events of salvation wrought by Christ are always actual -- the interest of every man and of all mankind. When, within liturgical celebrations, we hear or proclaim this "Today a Savior is born for us," we are not employing an empty, conventional expression; rather, we mean that God offers us "today", now, to me, to each one of us, the possibility of acknowledging and receiving Him like the shepherds in Bethlehem, so that He might be born in our lives and renew them, illumine them, transform them by His grace, by His Presence.
General Audience, December 21, 2011
Reflection – We see in this lovely and rather simple passage one of the true greatnesses of Pope Benedict. He is so alive to the modern world and its challenges, understands the philosophical and intellectual struggles of the modern world as only a European of his generation can, having lived through so much of the bloody consequences of these struggles. But his greatness is that he brings to bear on these complex and tangled intellectual difficulties a childlike faith and expectation.
Modernity is mired in positivism and intellectual reductionism. The Pope says, “A child is born for us today, so we can meet Jesus here and now.” Modernity is mired in skepticism and disbelief. The Pope says, “Come, let us adore Him.”
I believe firmly that this is the answer to our modern world and its terrible confusions, terrible errors, terrible deeds against human life and dignity. To simply say, ‘we have a savior, you know.’ Just in case you’re ever looking for one. Just in case you ever decide you’re not doing so great without one.
We have a savior. His name is Jesus. Want to come meet Him? To the atheist, the Marxist, the scientist, the hedonist, the young barbarian who chooses to simply ignore all the deep questions of life. We have a savior – you know. His name is Jesus. He’s waiting for you and for all of us, when we decide we need one.
It’s like these wise men coming to this baby. What were they coming for? What did they expect? They were the intellectuals of their own day, the ones who knew whatever there was to know, and I’m sure it all was complicated and tangled up, as all human knowledge tends to be.
And they found… what? A baby? A mother? Some straw and animals, and good old Joseph in the corner keeping everyone comfortable? What did they find? They bowed down and worshipped him. And all their complexity was made radiantly simple in childlike wonder and awe.This is the answer for all of us, whatever complexity and tangles we find ourselves in. We have a savior, his name is Jesus, let us go and worship Him. Let us pray that all who desire Him in their hearts, whether they know it or not, find him this year of 2012.