Weakness, not strength, attracted God’s love, mercy

| Deacon Kenneth Braun | December 19, 2016 | 0 Comments

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Heaven has never been won by denying sin or weakness. Sometimes we forget this. Sometimes we can think that if we can accumulate more good deeds than bad, that is what will bring us into the kingdom. We think that the well intentioned people win heaven by not falling too far into sin.

On Christmas we celebrate something different: the truth that Jesus came while we were still sinners. He is the light who came to scatter our darkness and the life to bring us out of the death of sin. It is our weakness, not our strength, that attracted the love and mercy of God. Our faith demands that we look at our sin and brokenness in order to accept and receive the one who came to save and heal us. Our faith demands that we look at the bloodied hammer in our hands before we look up to the merciful face of Jesus on the cross. It is only in the face of our sin and weakness that we see just how much God has done for us, just how much he loves us. It is only through our weakness that we can fully appreciate the power of God and what he did for us in becoming man.

In the Christian life, it is dangerous to ignore our sin and weakness. We walk this pilgrimage not to reach the end and shout, “Look at me, God! Look at how good I am!” Rather, the Christian proclaims, “Look at how good God is!” In our needs and flaws, we lean into and appreciate more the God who loves us and wants to shower us with his generosity.

Can we consciously receive what we celebrate each Christmas? Can we see the true beauty of that small child in the manger?

We were undeserving of God’s mercy, but he gave it to us. In showing his mercy, God didn’t just say, “I forgive you”; God demonstrated the unfathomable extent of his mercy and love. God became man. The very reality we run away from or ignore — human weakness — God himself embraced for our sake and made the means of sanctification. It is only in recognizing both our devastating need and God’s gratuitous, unconditional love that we can shout with joy, as we see the child in the manger, “My Savior!”

Deacon Braun is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Diocese of Duluth. His teaching parish is Our Lady of Grace in Edina, and his home parish is St. Charles in Cass Lake.


Sunday, Dec. 25
Nativity of the Lord

Readings

  • Is 52:7-10
  • Heb 1:1-6
  • Jn 1:1-18

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Category: Featured, Sunday Scriptures