A Hidden Treasure is a Useless Treasure

Advent 4 Monday

Luke 2:10-12

“And the angel said to them: Do not be afraid. Look, I am proclaiming to you great joy that will be for all people; for unto you is born today in the city of David the Savior who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign: You will find the child wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

This is the first sermon concerning this newborn baby, our Lord Jesus. The angels brought it from heaven to us on earth. This is why this sermon is well worth to learn it with diligence and beware of thinking that we have mastered it or exhausted it. For even if we preached about it every year or even every day, we will not able to exhaust it on earth. Yet this angelic sermon was very necessary. For if Christ had been born twenty times, it would have been futile if we were not supposed to have known about it. For what use is having a treasure in the house or the basement without knowing about it? That treasure will give you little pleasure or joy. As the proverb says, a hidden treasure is a useless treasure; you run over it like over the refuse on the street, paying no attention to it. It is just like that with this holy, joyful birth. If the dear angel had not preached about it and had not revealed such treasure to the people, no one could have desired or enjoyed such treasure; no one would have rejoiced in it…This is why one of the most preeminent parts of today’s gospel is that the angel reveals this birth by his sermon and shows us this treasure…The angel talks to the shepherds. They were Jews and knew well that the word Christ in their language meant a king and lord. Yet most of the Jews erred when they thought that the Christ would be a lord and savior in the physical government. That was not the meaning. The angel looks to something higher when he says, “Unto you is born the Savior,” as if he wanted to say: “You have so far been the devil’s prisoners; he tortured you by water, fire, plague, sword, and whatever other misfortune he could think of. You men are under his tyranny. He seduces the soul with lies immeasurably more harmful than any disease of the body could ever be. But the poor, needy, weak body also has no rest under the devil’s tyranny. After he tortured soul and body in this way, eternal death is still ahead.” “Unto you,” says the angel, “unto you who are imprisoned with soul and body under such malicious, evil, toxic spirit who is the world’s prince and god–unto you is born the Savior.” This word should give joy to us. For to whom is the angel speaking? To wood or stone? No, to people. Not only to one or two, but to all people. What are we to make of it? Do we also want to continue to doubt the grace of God, saying: “To be sure, St. Peter and St. Paul may rejoice in the Savior, but I may not do so because I am a poor sinner; this noble, precious treasure is not for me.” My friend, if you say that he does not belong to you, then I say: To whom else does he belong? Did he come for the sake of the geese, ducks, or cows? For you must consider here who he is. If he had wanted to help a different creature, he would have become that creature. But he became only a son of man. Now, who are you? Who am I? Are we not men? Yes,
we are. Who else should receive this child but men? The angels do not need him. The devils do not want him. But we need him, and he was made man for our sake. This is why he belongs to us men so that we should receive him with joy, as the angel says here: “Unto you is born the Savior.”

St. Louis ed., 13.1:52-53, 59-60.

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