The great season of Christmastide concluded yesterday evening at Compline, and now we are in the first week of ‘Ordinary’ Time. However, no season is in fact ‘ordinary’, for each has its own special character and gift.

The first reading at Mass picks up the theme of the Incarnation: ‘In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets; but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has obtained is more excellent than theirs. For to what angel did God ever say, “Thou art my Son, today I have begotten thee”? Or again, “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son”? And again, when he brings the first-born into the world, he says, “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

St Athanasius wrote: ‘For this purpose, then, the incorporeal and incorruptible and immaterial Word of God comes to our realm, howbeit he was not far from us before. For no part of Creation is left void of Him: He has filled all things everywhere, remaining present with His own Father. But He comes in condescension to show loving-kindness upon us, and to visit us. … He took pity on our race, and had mercy on our infirmity, and condescended to our corruption, and, unable to bear that death should have the mastery — lest the creature should perish, and His Father’s handiwork in men be spent for nought — He takes unto Himself a body, and that of no different sort from ours. … And thus taking from our bodies one of like nature, because all were under penalty of the corruption of death, He gave it over to death in the stead of all, and offered it to the Father …’

Let us open ourselves fully to the grace of this gift this day, and may God bless you abundantly in so doing.