Friday, December 19, 2008

Father Cantalamessa's 3rd Advent Meditation

"When the Fullness of Time Had Come God Sent His Son Born of a Woman"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 19, 2008 ( Here is the Advent homily Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, delivered today in the Vatican in the presence of Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia.

This is the third and last Advent sermons the preacher wrote on the theme "'When the Fullness of Time Had Come, God Sent his Son, Born of a Woman: Going With St. Paul to Meet the Christ Who Comes."

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1. Paul and the Dogma of the Incarnation

Once again we will present the passage from St. Paul that we intend to reflect on.

"I mean that as long as the heir is not of age, he is no different from a slave, although he is the owner of everything, but he is under the supervision of guardians and administrators until the date set by his father. In the same way we also, when we were not of age, were enslaved to the elemental powers of the world. But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to ransom those under the law, so that we might receive adoption. As proof that you are children, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, 'Abba, Father!' So you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son then also an heir, through God" (Galatians 4, 4-7).

We hear this passage often during the Christmas season, beginning with First Vespers for the solemnity of Christmas. We will first of all speak about the theological implications of this text. It is the place in which we come closest, in the Pauline corpus, to the idea of preexistence and incarnation. The idea of "sending" ("God sent [exapesteilen] his Son") is placed parallel to the sending of the Spirit, which is spoken of two verses later and hearkens back to that which is said in the Old Testament about God's sending of Wisdom and the Holy Spirit out into the world (Wisdom 9:10, 17). These combinations indicate that here we are not dealing with a sending "from the earth," as in the case of the prophets, but "from heaven."


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