Let the Scriptures Speak
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of him who brings glad tidings,
announcing peace, bearing good news,
announcing salvation, and saying to Zion,
“Your God is King!”
If Matthew makes bold to claim up front that the birth of the child Jesus is the presence of God come to save us, the readings for Christmas Day, from the letter to the Hebrews and the Gospel of John, proclaim the same thing in even broader strokes.
Hebrews shout that Jesus of Nazareth is the climax of the Creator’s communication to his people: “In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he has spoken to us through a Son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe.” The remainder of this magnificent introduction goes on to say that the fullness of such a communication through the eternal Son came to expression in his death and exaltation.
The prologue of John says the same thing more fully by calling Jesus the fullness of life, light for the darkness, eternal Word enfleshed, the very tenting of God in our midst.
We read Isaiah 52 today because we know that the end to exile which that prophet called Good News has occurred supremely in the coming of Christ Jesus.
Dennis Hamm, SJ
Fr. Hamm is emeritus professor of the New Testament at Creighton University in Omaha. He has published articles in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, The Journal Of Biblical Literature, Biblica, The Journal for the Study of the New Testament, America, Church; and a number of encyclopedia entries, as well as the book, The Beatitudes in Context (Glazier, 1989), and three other books.
**From Saint Louis University