Sunday, January 26, 2014
What's The Big Deal About Jesus?
What he predicts for Jesus and for Mary is not that great either. The falling and rising of many? A sign that will be contradicted? A piercing of a sword? What is there to be overjoyed about?
The answer is that God is with us. God is here to tell us what we ought to be. What is truly good. It is a word that will be resisted yet it is worth it because it is what we are meant to be. Before this people had the law and the prophets but now they had the living presence of God on earth.
The other think Jesus brought was atonement. He paid for our sin with His death and resurrection. He opens the door to heaven and allows us to experience friendship with God.
We can miss this because we have lost it to some extent. God's living presence on earth continues in the church. She is the body of Christ where we can hear the word of God not as it was written to some other people group years ago but addressed to us now. We have a living magisterium that speaks for God.
The sacrifice of Jesus on the cross continues as well. It is made present to us at every mass. We get to experience heaven on earth in a special way.
The trouble is we don't really embrace that. Protestants have taught that we are back on the Old Testament situation. That is we don't have a living teacher of God's word but we only have the scriptures from long ago. That we don't have the real presence of Jesus in the sacraments but only a symbol. Even when the Catholic church still claims to teach the true word of God and to perform true sacraments we can kind of buy into the idea that all we have is human opinion about God's word and all we have is a symbol we like to think of as Jesus' body and blood.
We can be more comfortable that way. The resistance to God that Simeon prophesied is not just out there. It is in out hearts as well. If God is really with us then our own idea of what God is like can be falsified pretty quickly. That becomes most clear when we give an ascent of faith to the teachings of the church or perhaps when we fail to do so. It also happens when we have to surrender out hearts and minds to the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
Jesus' coming was a big deal but only continues to be a big deal if we understand how He is still with us in His mystical body. That is how God is still with us. He still blesses us and He still offends us in a way that didn't happen in the Old Covenant.