20 January 2008

Three Aspects of Our Lord's Incarnation

The great and wondrous mystery of Our Lord’s incarnation, the mystery of God becoming man, the mystery of the divine nature putting on human flesh, the mystery of Our Lord God becoming all that we are so that we might live in Him and enjoy all that He gives—that great mystery is what we continue to celebrate, not only this Sunday but every Sunday and, in fact, every day. For this is why we were made by God—so that we might not only live with Him, but also live in Him; so that there might not be merely a union of God and man, but the union of man in God.

This mystery is magnified and heightened by the simple fact that our pride, which leads to rebellion from God and rejection of His will; our pride, which urges us to cling stubbornly to what we think is good and right; our pride, which finally drags us back to the earth instead of up to God; our pride, which pushes us to believe little about God and to think much of ourselves; our pride, which causes us to love ourselves, and worry about the inconsequential, and strive for riches that break or rust or decay—our pride neither causes Our Lord to reject us, nor prevents Him from carrying through with His original plan. That is what makes this grand mystery even greater—that Our Lord’s desire for union with us is not affected by our proud and selfish refusal to seek union in Him.

And so, despite our sin, Our Lord comes down. And mindful of our mortality, Our Lord puts on our flesh. And risking Himself so that He might love us back to Him, Our Lord enmeshes His divine nature with our human nature—all so that His original desire, His plan for uniting all creation, through man, to Himself, might be accomplished.

Since we celebrated the feast of the Nativity, we have seen that this great mystery of Our Lord’s holy incarnation has three aspects. The first aspect we saw when the Magi visited the newborn Christ Child. That visit made known to us that Our Lord desired union not only with His chosen people, but with all men. He was incarnate so that, in Him, all men might be united to God. The second aspect we saw when Our Lord willingly and determinedly was baptized by St John in the Jordan. That baptism made known to us that whatever we had done, whatever sin we had committed, would not prevent Our Lord from reasserting His love for us. He was incarnate so that, in Him, sin might be forgiven and death undone.

And now, today, Our Blessed Lord Jesus reveals to us the third aspect of this great mystery of His holy incarnation. What we hear and see in today’s Gospel is that this union of God in man is pictured in the marital union of man and woman. And we see that this union of God in man is consummated by water and blood. And so Our Lord reveals that He became incarnate so that, by water and blood, He might wed all men to Himself.

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