What is there where Christ is not?

Advent 4 Wednesday

Luke 2:14

“Peace on earth.”

We must understand these words like the first: They both wish it and prophecy that it now will be like that among those who know this infant and have received him: There will be fortune and well-being on earth. For what is there where Christ is not? What is the world other than a wretched hell and the devil’s kingdom where there is nothing but ignorance of, and contempt for, God, lying, deceiving, being stingy, guzzling, boozing, whoring, beating, murdering? For this is how
it goes in the world where you must understand “white” if “black” is said if you want to deal with the people without being utterly deceived by them. There is neither love nor loyalty; no one is safe from the other. One must worry about one’s friends as much about one’s enemies, and at times more. This is how the devil governs and leads the world. But just as the angels sang that those who know and accept this infant Jesus will give God the glory in all things, so they sing here and wish–in fact, they promise and comfort–that such tyranny of the devil will now be over and the Christians will have a fine, peaceful, quiet life among themselves; that they will gladly help and advise, will prevent quarrels and disunity,
and will live with each other in friendliness so that there will be a peaceful government and lovely way of life among them for the sake of this infant where each will gladly do the best for the other. “Such,” the dear angels say, “will also follow when God has his honor and is recognized as a Lord from whom we have everything.” Then the people will be kind to one another; no one will hate the other or begrudge him what he has; no one will lord it over the other, but each will always consider the other greater than himself, saying: “Dear brother, pray to God for me.” Then there will be peace and abundance and all fortune. For “peace” in Hebrew means “all good things.” Such a fine and peaceful life should exist among the Christians so that each does what pleases the other and avoids what displeases the other. Those who do not live like this do not hear the angels sing, but hear the wolf, the devil, howl who sings to them: “Steal here; commit adultery there; slay there,” etc. This is the devil’s chant from hell. But it should not be like that among the Christians; among them, it should be like the dear angels sing here. They very nicely summarize our Lord’s worship: First, that we should leave the glory in heaven, lauding and praising God alone; secondly, that we should live on earth like brothers and not follow the devil’s harmful suggestions and tyrannical ways. The dear angels would gladly see that things would go like this in the whole world. But they see that most people do not want to have anything to do with the infant Jesus and upheaval will surround them in this world.

St. Louis ed., 13.1:74-75.

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