Thought of the day
Friday, January 2, 2015

Friday before Epiphany
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"I am not the Messiah"

A homily attributed to Saint Hippolytus of Rome (?-c.235), priest and martyr 
Fourth century homily for the Epiphany, the Holy Theophany ; PG 10, 852
"I am not the Messiah"

Let us reverently honor the compassion of a God who came to save the world, not to judge it. John’s the Lord’s forerunner, who had been ignorant of this mystery until then, when he learned that Jesus was indeed the Lord, cried out to those who were coming to be baptized: “’Brood of vipers’ (Mt 3,6), why look at me so earnestly? I am not the Christ. I am a servant, not the Master. I am a mere subject, not the king. I am a sheep, not the shepherd. I am a man, not a god. I healed my mother’s barrenness when I came into the world, I did not make her virginity fruitful; I have been taken from below, I did not come down from above. I bound my father’s tongue (Lk 1,20), I have not exercise divine grace… I am insignificant and small but after me comes on who was before me (Jn 1,30).

« In time he comes afterwards, but beforehand he was in the inaccessible and unutterable light of divinity. ‘The one who is coming after me is mightier than I. I am not worthy to take off his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’ (Mt 3,11). I am subject, he is free. I am subject to sin, he destroys it. I teach the Law, he brings the light of grace. I preach as a slave, he legislates as a master. My bed is the earth, his is the heaven. I baptize with a baptism of repentance, he gives the grace of adoption. ‘He will baptize you in Spirit and fire.’ Why honor me? I am not the Christ.”
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