Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Fruit of the Womb

Christmas has at its core the choice of Mary to say Yes to life. She chose a difficult path of motherhood in the face of ridicule so that God could do something wonderful through her. in this weeks gospel Elizabeth utters the now famous line from Luke 1:42, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." Elizabeth goes on to say, "Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfil His promises to her."

Yet many still don't get the connection with our own openness to life. That what Mary did is what we are all called to do. When God calls us to bring new life into the world it is a sacred thing. That love must involve saying Yes to the fruit of that love. To render love sterile is to stop loving the whole person. Really not loving the whole person is not loving at all. 

I am reminded of some conversations at my company Christmas party. One workmate of mine was expecting his second child in February. Both him and his wife repeated a few time that they were definitely done after this. It seemed like with every message of congratulation came a message of sterilization. Some even went into comparing various vasectomy doctors. This is before baby #2 is even born. 

I didn't know what to say. I didn't say anything. Still I wondered at how we can see children as a blessing and at the same time be so eager to stop them from coming. Yet it maps very well to how society sees God. We want His blessings but we don't want too much. We want to love but only to a point. We don't want to give ourselves totally to the beloved. You see this in the high numbers who self-identify as Christians yet don't go to church often and don't follow most of the more counter-cultural teachings of Christianity. 

I am reminded of a gospel from a few weeks ago from Mark 9:36,37.
He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Here again Jesus connects welcoming children with welcoming God. Really there are a lot of parallels. We have an impulse to love children and an impulse to love God. We know that is right. Yet the cost is incalculable. It is like writing a blank cheque. Except what you are committing to is not limited to money. Both children and God are allowed to make very personal demands. 

We see this with refugees as well. They are not safe. Of course not. A culture that wants safe sex also wants safe refugees. Guess what? God is not about safe. He is about faith. He does not guarantee anything except Himself. Not comfort, not health, not success as you imagine it. He does say He will be with us. Is that enough? 

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