The Creche and the Cross

30 Nov

56256

 

The message of the cross is complete absurdity to those who are headed for ruin, but to us who are experiencing salvation it is the power of God (1 Cor 1:18).

The greatest paradox of all time is the justice of the Cross of Christ. It is the ultimate expression of God’s sense of justice.

There is a lot of excitement as people prepare for Christmas – Black Friday and beyond, frenzied shoppers looking for just the right gift at the best price; plans for various office and community celebrations; families decorating their homes inside and out announcing their joy in the season.

It’s so easy to forget, is it not, that the crèche of the Christ Child foreshadows the cross upon which he will die – fulfilling God’s sense of justice.

Justice? What’s just in the terrible crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth?

Even from the time of the prophets, God clearly states he does not want the death or condemnation of sinners, but their salvation:

Do I indeed derive any pleasure from the death of the wicked? says the Lord. Do I not rather rejoice when he turns from his evil way that he may live? … As I live, says the Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man’s conversion that he may live (Ezekiel 18:23; 33:11).

I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth (Is 49:6b).

And in the New Covenant, God’s justice is verified in the life, passion and death of Jesus Christ:

“Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.”  … “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” … “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” (See Mt 9:13, Mk 2:17 and Lk 5:32.)

So, for God, justice is eternal salvation for all peoples of all times. That singular and pure sense of justice is the real reason we rejoice in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth – the Messiah, our Savior, our brother and our Lord and God.

If that eternal reality is ignored, shopping frenzies are reduced to nothingness; Christmas parties can be celebrations of nothing more than the usual; decorations are mere declarations of secularism.

In our Catholic faith, the four weeks before Christmas are the season of Advent. During Advent, we are called to reflect deeply on the meaning of Christmas – the birth of the Savior of the world. Jesus is our Lord and our Savior.

May this Advent Season be a source of ever deeper revelation of God’s love for you and all the people of all times. May his sense of justice become our very own.

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