The Incarnation changes everything

| Bishop Andrew Cozzens | December 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14).

With these words, St. John invites us into the mystery of the Incarnation. The eternal God, who is the source and creator of all things, who is completely holy, who is all-powerful, entered the mess of our world and became one of us, taking our human flesh. The depth of this mystery which we celebrate at Christmas beckons us to see how we must allow the incarnation of the Son of God to transform everything.

Bishop Andrew CozzensWe know well the problems of our world. We are so inundated with the distressing reality around us that we become numb to the pain. How many shootings and terrorist attacks this year? How much have abuse and suicide grown in our culture of death? How much vitriol and division in our politics? How many natural disasters? How many refugees fleeing war and violence are living in desperate situations?

We could make a long list of the disaster wrought by sin in our world and even in our Church. The world we live in is a fallen place, far from the truth of its creation when God saw that it was very good (Gn 1:31).

However, Christmas reminds us that God did not leave us orphans. Rather, he entered into the brokenness of our world in order to save us from the destruction and death wrought by sin. He came to set things right and to heal all creation. As the Scriptures proclaimed the Messiah would do: “Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them” (Is 11:5-6).

He came to begin a new kingdom, “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love and peace” an eternal and universal kingdom where all can live in holiness as his children,” as the preface for the Mass of Christ the King states.

But he is not like the kings of this world. The poverty of his birth and death reveal that his kingdom and the transformation he brings will be very different from the leaders of this world. Rather, his kingdom grows hidden and slow like the seed that is sown. Jesus does not overthrow the evil of this world or end its suffering. Rather, he enters into suffering to transform it with his love. This is why the Word becomes flesh, and it is what we, his followers, are called to imitate.

Its transformation comes from within the human heart as we begin to understand and share Jesus’ life.

As we allow our lives to be transformed by his grace through the sacraments and grow in love and imitation of him through his Word, we become the Body of Christ. The Church is meant to continue the Incarnation in the world throughout all time. He fills us with his divine life so that we can be transformed and begin to transform our world.

Understanding two central aspects of this transformation which he showed us is critical: No. 1: The fullness of life will only come when he returns to fully establish his kingdom; until then it will remain hidden and poor. No. 2: The transformation will come from our following his path, as we embrace our cross and transform evil with love. We expect not to see success in worldly terms, and we expect that the path will involve suffering.

Christmas gives us a mission. Jesus Christ enters into humanity to share his divine life so that we will allow that divine life to fill us and everything around us, allowing our hearts to be transformed by his love and our minds to be conformed to his truth as we seek to share his glory with our world.

We must heal our families by making them places of his love. We must heal our neighbors by sharing his mercy. We must make our businesses right by leading them with his Christian principles of truth and integrity. We must make art and architecture right by inspiring them with the truth and beauty of the Gospel.

Whatever we do, we must do for him and in him, so that the world can be transformed by the Incarnation.

This Christmas, as we kneel before the crib in adoration, let us ask ourselves how we are doing in this mission of transforming the world with his divine life. It’s not asking what is the state of the world, but what is the state of my heart. Just as Jesus transformed his corner of the world through his love, how am I transforming my world with his truth, beauty and goodness? How can my life be more filled with his life so that I can be more free from sin and share his love with others? How can I embrace the suffering in my life with love and offer it for the salvation of the world? How can I seek to transform my work place, my family and my relationships based on his love?

None of us is doing this perfectly, and so the Church gives us Christmas to meditate more on our need for his divine life. God did not leave us orphans. He was born in our world to reveal his glory. What practical thing can I do in 2020 to let his life fill my life more and then affect the world around me with the truth of the Incarnation?

La Encarnación cambia todo

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Category: Only Jesus