The ox and the ass

The ox and the ass are not simply products of the pious imagination: the Church’s faith in the unity of the Old and New Testaments has given them their role as an accompaniment of the Christmas event. We read in Isaiah: "The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people does not understand." (1:3)

The Fathers of the Church saw in these words a prophecy that pointed ahead to the new people of God, the Church consisting of both Jews and Gentiles. Before God, all men, Jews and Gentiles, were like the ox and ass, without reason or knowledge. But the child in the crib has opened their eyes so that they now recognize the voice of their Master, the voice of their Lord.

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