Monday, February 20, 2012

Monday in Epiphany Last: In the likeness of a man

Opening Sentence
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Isaiah 60:3

Commemoration: Cecile Isherwood

O God, by whose grace your servant Cecile Isherwood, enkindled With the fire of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and may ever walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 25

Lessons: Proverbs 27:1-6, 10-12; Philippians 2:1-13; John 18:15-18, 25-27

What does it mean to be in a human likeness? Does it mean that his appearance was merely a fantasy? This would be something merely similar to a human and not made in the likeness of a man. For to be made in the likeness of a man is to be a man. . . . So what does it mean, in a human likeness? With few exceptions he had all our common human properties. The exceptions: He was not born from sexual intercourse. He committed no sin. These properties he had which no human being has. He was not only human, which is what he appeared to be, but also God. . . . We are soul and body, but he is God, soul, and body. For this reason Paul says in the form – and so that when you hear of his emptying you may not suppose that he underwent change, degradation and some sort of annihilation of his divinity. Rather remaining what he was he assumed what he was not. Becoming flesh, he remained the Word of God. So it is in this respect that he is in the likeness of men, and for this reason he says and in form. His nature was not degraded, nor was there any confusion [of the two natures], but he entered a form.

He carefully uses the phrase in human likeness. For Christ was not one of the many but as one of the many. God the Word did not degenerate into a man. His essence as God did not change. Rather he appeared like a man, not deluding us with a phantom but instructing us in humility.

He honored the Father all the more, not that you may honor him less but that you may marvel all the more. Here we learn that he is truly a son who honors his father more than all else. No one could have honored God the Father more than God the Son. The measure of his sublimity corresponds with the depth of his humility.

John Chrysostom

When Morning Guilds the Skies