Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blog # 222 Christmas

Blog # 222  Christmas

         The original story of Christmas on earth began over two thousand years ago.  Our liturgical celebration of the story  began nine months ago March 25 when Mary was offered and accepted
Gabriel's message from God that she would be the mother of the Messiah promised to God's chosen people from the very first Chapter of the Book of Genesis. As the Bible presents it, the next nine months of Mary's life were much the same as the months any ordinary mother experiences the time of waiting for her child to be born.  We can imagine her getting advice from neighbors and her mother St. Anne. She knew her baby would be a boy and she knew Joseph had been told to give him the name Jesus on the eighth day of his life according to the law of Moses.  Again from the story as it is given in the Bible, the boy Jesus was very much the same as other boys growing up in the neighborhood of Joseph's carpenter shop.  We do not hear of miracles he performed, that he prayed a certain way, that he was significantly different in his relationship to Mary and Joseph  than any of the other boys in the neighborhood in their relationships. As the story progressed from his infancy through his youth to the life of an adult it continued the same, for about thirty years.

           All of  this is very familiar to us and I think we are comfortably accustomed to take it for granted, waiting for the public ministry of Jesus to begin with his first miracle at the wedding feast of Cana.  This year it has turned out differently for me.  Somehow all during Advent I kept thinking of and being impressed more than I remember with an awareness and appreciation of  the content of my faith in the humanity of Jesus. The Eternal Word of God, though divine and infinite, and united as one with the Father and the Holy Spirit in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, is the same 'person' as  Jesus!   And that was true every day of the human life of Jesus from the hour He was conceived to the hour he died on Calvary.  There are mysteries here beyond our limited human comprehension, but there are also insights that guide and help us to know appreciate and love Jesus more than we may have been accustomed to be consciously aware of.  For example there is a danger for us not to appreciate  more fully that, as one of us it would not have been any more natural, and therefore without the gift of grace for Jesus to know and love the Father than it is for us to do so. As one of us Jesus had the same need we have for the gift of grace in order to pray, to know God as we do, and to obey God.  This plays up for  me the depth of humility the Word, in Jesus, accepted and portrayed when as one of us He assumed our humanity and accepted the need for the gift of grace for achieving goals common to Him and to us in our humanity.

            I am also inspired  and encouraged in seeing how as one of us Jesus experienced and responded to rejection misunderstanding and lack of response to His goodness wisdom and teaching. Just imagine how Jesus felt, as one of us, when nine out of ten of the lepers He healed did not come back to thank Him and receive the greater gift of His friendship in which the gift of their healing was wrapped. I am also inspired and encouraged in witnessing Jesus in our common humanity tired, hungry, spending time in prayer and enjoying a fishing trip with His disciples. 

             I admire and appreciate the wonderful achievements men and women accomplish individually and together with others in a team during the Olympic games. They inspire me but do not invite me to imitate them at the age of 87.   In the case of Jesus I can hear Him telling our Father "I have sent them into the world as You have sent me"(Jn, 17: 18),  and praying that all who will come to believe in Him would be one in Him so the world will know the Father loved us as He loved  Jesus in His humanity,{Jn, 17 23) united  in Baptism, as a living branch on a single vine, the  Church.    

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