St. Silouan the Athonite Mission Parish

Priest Musings

"When God Becomes What He Is Not"
by Fr Roberto Ubertino

The Gospel of John begins with these words: “and the Word was turned towards God and the Word was God.” At the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany, we enter into the mystery of this very same Word becoming one with us. Born among us, now turned towards us in the flesh.

He is born homeless. He is born away from his parents' home. There is no room at the inn. A cave becomes his shelter and men living outside (homeless) are the first people drawn to Him. Later he will describe Himself as homeless by saying that unlike the animals who all have a home, he is without one. To follow Him means to also become homeless, and yet .the whole point of the Incarnation is to give us the grace "to make our home in Him, just as He makes His home in us".

I am struck by how much this theme of homelessness is central to the feast we are celebrating. The Only Begotten, the Beloved of the Father before Eternity, in a eternal "turning" of love abides in the Father and the Spirit. God makes his home in God. All human desire for a home is a distant echo of this perfect Home, that is the mutual indwelling of the Trinity in one another.

We humans since the fall have become by very definition – homeless. Homeless, apart from God, from each other and ourselves.

"Our hearts are made for Thee and they are restless until they rest in thee". (Augustine of Hippo's) is an accurate diagnosis of our humanity. Those “labelled” homeless among us are not always as homeless as we think. I have met many homeless people that after being “housed” by eager social workers gladly returned to the “street”. There they found a sense of community and belonging. They found a sense of home on the street that their apartment did not give them.

When God becomes what He is not, He becomes homeless, because there is where he will find us. Repentance than means to make our home in Him as He does in us AND to extend this sense of home to others, not just by housing them but becoming ourselves a home for others. Our parish continues to be a place where people find a home, both spiritually but also in many other important simple human ways. Our churches are meant to be a place where we feel at home. It's not the frescoes or the gold glitter that makes them the house of God, but the love and the sense of community that they house that make them God's house.

Let us keep the feast by persevering in welcoming one another just as God has welcomed us in Christ. Welcome home!

Merry Christmas

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