Jesus and Us: Human and Divine

2 Jan

man in praise

It’s a question we hear often following natural disasters or the terrible illness and death of loved ones. We hear the question in the aftermath of the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut:

“How can a good God allow this to happen?”

Indeed, as we mourned the senseless massacre of those twenty children and six adults in Newtown, “How can a good God allow this to happen?”

It’s a tough question, born of deep shock and pain. We need to try to make sense of this.

God created us in his image, with an immortal soul and with a free will. Having that free will is part of being made in his image.

God gives us his wisdom. God wants what is best for us. He reveals himself to us in all of creation, in salvation history. Especially, in Jesus Christ, God and Man, he reveals himself to us. He reveals the depth of his love. He gives us salvation – but alas, that free will, we have to accept it.

Salvation cannot be accepted passively. It is a call to a dynamic relationship, a deep communion with God, with other believers and with all of creation. To be his voice and his heart, he places us in the midst of this “crooked and perverse generation” (Phil 2:15). Salvation demands that we accept God and his will, that we accept Jesus who is our Way, our Truth and our Life.

Now, the real question: How do we, children God, reaffirm our roots of faith?

Let’s return for a moment to Bethlehem. 

During the Christmas season, our faith does not focus only on the Babe of Bethlehem. In the birth of the Son of God, the mystery of God’s saving love is revealed. In that Child, we see the man who will preach, teach, heal, die and rise from the dead.

Our “Baby Jesus” is the One who splits history in two, who gives flesh to the Father’s love and gives voice to the will of God.

That Baby is the Son of God and the Son of Mary. He is both truly and fully God, and truly and fully human.

In the first centuries after the Ascension of the Lord, the Church had to correct heresies concerning Jesus Christ.

Among the errors being proposed were (1) the man, Jesus, was not truly God, that somehow he was adopted or attached to the Divine Trinity, and (2) he was not truly human.

Even into the fifth century, at the Council of Chalcedon, the Church fathers found it necessary to proclaim and affirm the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ.

“ … we unanimously teach and confess one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, composed of rational soul and body; consubstantial with the Father as to his divinity and consubstantial with us as to his humanity …” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 467).

And this teaching, this doctrine, carries forth to this day.

Man’s nature is made new as God becomes man; he remains what he was and becomes what he was not. Yet each nature stays distinct and forever undivided. (Liturgy of the Hours, Book I, pg 487, Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Yet, heresy still exists. For example, one error corrupting our world is that God is somehow divorced from our concerns, uninterested in our pain and suffering, and seemingly unable to change things here on earth. Another falsehood being promoted is that belief in God is a strictly private matter, that God has no place in our government or in the public square. He is to remain locked in church buildings. God is regarded as little more than an irrelevant superstition.

Take courage! We are incorporated in the very Body of Christ. We are one with him in his humanity and divinity. We are the saved daughters and sons of God,

To offset the modern forces of disbelief, we must proclaim God by the way we live and by our verbal witness.

If we truly accept salvation, that is what we do.

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