Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  132 / 904 Next Page
Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 132 / 904 Next Page
Page Background

132

Part One

figures and symbols of the “First Covenant.”

195

He announces him

through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in

Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim

expectation of this coming.

523

St. John the Baptist

is the Lord’s immediate precursor or

forerunner, sent to prepare his way.

196

“Prophet of the Most High,”

John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.

197

He

inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb wel-

comes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the

bridegroom,” whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes

away the sin of the world.”

198

Going before Jesus “in the spirit and

power of Elijah,” John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by

his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.

199

524

When the Church celebrates

the liturgy of Advent

each year,

she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by

sharing in the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the

faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming.

200

By

celebrating the precursor’s birth and martyrdom, the Church

unites herself to his desire: “He must increase, but I must de­

crease.”

201

The Christmas mystery

525

Jesus was born in a humble stable, into a poor family.

202

Simple shepherds were the first witnesses to this event. In this

poverty heaven’s glory was made manifest.

203

The Church never

tires of singing the glory of this night:

The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal

And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.

The angels and shepherds praise him

And the magi advance with the star,

For you are born for us,

Little Child, God eternal!

204

195

Heb

9:15.

196 Cf.

Acts

13:24;

Mt

3:3.

197

Lk

1:76; cf. 7:26;

Mt

11:13.

198

Jn

1:29; cf.

Acts

1:22;

Lk

1:41; 16:16;

Jn

3:29.

199

Lk

1:17; cf.

Mk

6:17-29.

200 Cf.

Rev

22:17.

201

Jn

3:30.

202 Cf.

Lk

2:6-7.

203 Cf.

Lk

2:8-20.

204

Kontakion

of Romanos the Melodist.

717-720

1171

437

2443