Today on this the Feast of the Epiphany we are invited to journey along with the Magi as they are led by the light of a star to the one who is the source of all light and with them we are invited not just to observe from afar but to enter into that light, to come offering ourselves, to come bowing down in adoration and love, and to be made radiant by that light ourselves.
This is what Christmas announces, and it announces it as a matter of fact. None of this depends in any way on you or I anymore than the rising of the actual sun depends on you or I. Whether you know it or not, whether you accept it or not, the proclamation is the same: The sun has risen, light has shone, it is a new day. Peace has come to earth and God has been gracious to all.
Jesus has come to the lowly. To the weak, to the sick, to the elderly, to the poor, to the hopeless, to the lonely. And he has done so in the moral sphere as well, coming not to save the just but to save sinners. Jesus has come to the lowly that he might raise us up with him.
This Benedictine insight into the good of work challenges some of our modern ideas about work and can, I believe, help us to understand our work in a more holistic sense. Modern Westerners in particular tend to have a disordered relationship to our work and we seem to fall prey to three temptations each of which Benedict can help correct.
The Church believes, based on the Bible and the teaching of the Apostles, that one day, one hour, the risen and living Jesus Christ will come again, will return, and that he will do so in glory, to judge. Apart from this promised coming—and apart from our acting like it!—the Christian faith and life is impoverished and our witness to the world dimmed. Strange as it may sound, this is a strangeness that the Church must boldly own for the sake of the gospel and of the world.