Wednesday, December 22, 2010

BLOG # 93 Advent 4, 2010

Blog # 93 Advent 4, 2010 If we imagine that a motion picture had been made of the universe from a beginning 5 billion years ago to today, and the film is shown in fast motion, speeded up so that the 5 billion-year-long run is crowded into two hours, the period from the time when the first aquatic vertebrates evolved to the present day would be just 9 1/2 minutes. The period roughly 500,000 years from the time of the earliest known chipped stone tools to the present would be a little more than a 1/2 second. If this 1/2 second of film were itself slowed down to run two hours, the period from the first domestication of animals and plants to the present would occupy the last 2 minutes, and the period between the time of Jesus and the present would take the last 29 seconds! From the time only God knows exactly how long ago, when God made the promise given in verse fifteen of Chapter three of the Book of Genesis to the first human creatures who were also the first to sin, all creation was waiting for the promise to be fulfilled, at first not even knowing for what they were waiting or perhaps that they were waiting at all. But in God's plan and promise ALL OF CREATION was indeed waiting for that plan and promise to be fulfilled. As the story progressed human creatures began to wonder, to be curious and to discover a need and desire within themselves of knowing the purpose and meaning of all that was going on within and around them. Profound issues such as suffering and death, joy, further sin, virtues , goodness, and love all invited them to ask questions. Gods were imagined worshipped loved praised and feared. A major breakthrough came when Abraham became the father of an IDENTIFIABLE PEOPLE who trusted and believed him as he had trusted and believed the God who revealed to him in a vision there was but ONE CREATOR OF ALL THAT EXISTS, all the time, space, beauty, power, ALL that is, was, or ever will be.

Then at the precise instant when Jesus was conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary the WHOLE PICTURE changed. Jesus was born and matured as a member of this people of faith, the children of Abraham. After about thirty years of experiencing a normal human life and identified by his neighbors and friends as the son of a Jewish carpenter Jesus began to say and do things that the religious leaders around him held for God alone to say and do.

Jesus did not deny the accuracy of their observations about him. Rather he took the occasions of their complaining as an opportunity to proclaim himself to be the Promised One of Genesis, justifying his supernatural words and deeds by identifying them as his credentials to help them have faith in him as Emmanuel, not just another prophet but as God Himself come among us as one of us in the mystery of His humanity yet as ever and always in the mystery of His divinity the Eternal Word.

In his genuine identity and capacity as one of us Jesus had no awareness of the content of the first paragraph of this blog. In His divine Identity as the Eternal Word of God ,divinely united with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He was well aware of it. Looking back, the event of Christmas is rooted in the event of the Annunciation nine months ago on March 25. Looking ahead the event of Christmas will reach full maturity in the event of Good Friday April 22, 2011.

As the baby Jesus of Christmas grows in His human experiences He will learn to say "Before Abraham came to be, I AM". (jn 8: 58). And: "Philip, to see Me is to see the Father," (Jn 14: 8,9). And: "I and the Father are one." (Jn 10:30). And: "Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you." (Mt 11: 28).And : "This is how all will know you are my disciples: your love for one another." (Jn 13: 35). And : "There is no greater love than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." ( Jn 15: 13). And, to Pilate: " You would have no power over me whatever unless it were given you from above." (Jn 19:11). And : " As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (Jn 20:21.

With these and similar texts in mind I hope to kneel before the manger again this Christmas in awe not at the authenticity of the figures in the crib but in the wonder of creation and my own life, waiting for further time color space and shapes into which God may call me in my 83rd year of life to discover and embrace the dramatic life and love of Emanuel, God-Among -us, which all and in a special way those Baptized into the life death and resurrection of Jesus as branches on a vine are invited to share and proclaim.

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