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‘Born of a Woman, Born under the Law’: Christmas according to Saint Paul
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The earliest passage in the New Testament concerning the birth of Jesus is found in the Letter to the Galatians: “When the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship” (Gal 4:4-5).

It is probably the highest moment of the letter, in which Paul announces the fulfillment of salvation. God the Father intervenes in the course of history with an extraordinary event, since the fullness (in Greek: “the filling”) of time has arrived: the messianic time. The ages that preceded this turning point are not only a previous period, but a time of preparation and waiting for the realization of the promises of the Old Testament. These have now become reality because the time of the Messiah has begun, and it is the new, definitive time, the time of salvation: God has sent his own Son, Jesus, “born of a woman, born under the Law” (Gal 4:4). The Greek has properly “become of a woman,” but the Vulgate, which translated this phase with filium, factum ex muliere, also has several manuscripts that offer natum ex muliere, perhaps to attenuate the scandal of the human reality of the birth of Jesus.

In an extraordinary synthesis, the Apostle presents the mystery of the Incarnation: first of all there is the divine pre-existence of Jesus, who is God and Son of God; then his human nature: the Son is at the same time son of man, since he was conceived by a woman. “Born of a woman” indicates that Jesus was truly born a man, from the first moment of his conception and his entry into the world: his humanity like ours, in need of care, attention, tenderness and love. However, it is immediately made clear that it is not a glorious humanity.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2021