A sermon on the Nativity of the Lord – By St. Anthony of Padua

On the first day God said, Be light made.

This light is the Wisdom of God the Father, enlightening every man coming into this world [cf. Jn 1.9], and dwelling in inaccessible light [cf. 1Tim 6.16]; concerning which the Apostle writes to the Hebrews: Who is the brightness and image of his substance; [Heb 1.3] and of which the Prophet says: In thy light we shall see light; [Ps 35.10] and in the Book of Wisdom: Wisdom is the brightness of the eternal light. [Wisd 7.26]

It is of this, then, that the Father says: Be light made.

And light was made, which John interprets more clearly when he says: The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. [Jn 1.14] Ezekiel too, in like sense but in different words, says: The hand of God was laid upon me, [Ezek 3.22] that is to say the Son, in whom and through whom all things were made.

The light, then, which was inaccessible and invisible was made visible in the flesh, to enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death [cf. Lk 1.79].

Regarding this enlightenment, we have the passage in John where Jesus spat on the ground and made clay and anointed the eyes of the man born blind. [cf. Jn 9.61].

The spittle, coming from the head of the Father, signifies Wisdom, since the head of Christ is God [1Cor 11.3]. As the spittle is joined to dust, so divinity is joined to humanity, that the eyes of the man born blind may be enlightened- that is, the eyes of the human race which was blinded in our first parent.

We see clearly then that on the very same day, the Lord’s day, that God said: Let there be light, the Wisdom of God the Father was born of the Virgin Mary and scattered the darkness which was upon the face of the deep [cf. Gen 1.2], that is of the human heart.

Wherefore upon that very day we sing in the Dawn Mass: Light has shone [Is 9.21], and in the Gospel: A light from heaven shone about the shepherds [cf. Lk 2.9].

[Source: THE SERMONS OF SAINT ANTONY OF PADUA , Translated into English by Paul Spilsbury from the Critical Latin Edition of the Centro Studi Antoniani, Padova, Italia (1979)

Copyright: Copyright of this translation belongs to the author, Revd. Dr. S.R.P.Spilsbury, 10 Woodside Grove, Henbury, Bristol, BS10 7RF. (paul.spilsbury@tinyonline.co.uk)]

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