by Deacon Bill Scholl
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
While the world is happy for this Christendom legacy of an excuse to party, it still stares suspiciously at you and me as Catholics, as church, to give an account of why Jesus still matters.
In our answer as disciples of Jesus, we must show way more than we tell by doing works of mercy and justice.
Christmas commemorates God being born into the world; that is the incarnation when God the Son became truly man while remaining truly God, born to the Virgin Mary. She named him Jesus, which means “God saves,” and by God becoming man, we are saved.
“Saved from what?” the world retorts, and we answer: You name it! Jesus saves us from: sin, death, hell, a life of meaninglessness, fear, anxiety, insignificance, the tyranny of selfishness and so on.
However, the best part is as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: “The Word became flesh to make us ‘partakers of the divine nature’” (460). Come for the saving, stay for the divinity.
While there is so much wonderful and right about the world, you don’t have to live here long to perceive there is something wrong.
Is it really so hard to believe that God made us good to be something better, but somehow something went terribly wrong and we need saving?
The Incarnation is God’s mission of mercy to each of us that has happened and is happening now. And if you accept his invitation to live as a disciple of Jesus, the horizons of your life expand into eternity.
Yet still, the world looks askance at we disciples of Jesus, perceiving our rules and our judgments, and says, “No, thank you.”
Why, we must wonder, have we followers of the God-man Jesus, charged with telling the greatest love story of all time, become regarded by many as a hate group? Certainly, we were told by Jesus that as the world hated him, it will hate us, and the best way to hate someone these days is to denounce them a hater.
However, in humility, if we really are in the family of God, are we living up to the name? Are we making it hallowed? Or are we making it shallow? The answer, as our Lord Jesus taught, is to be found in how we live out mercy and justice. It is not just in our daily encounter with others, but in our going out to the margins.
So, come let us adore him, by seeking this year to be more like him. So that as the world looks at you, they see the loving gaze of the Baby Jesus staring back.