Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jesus "...Made His Dwelling Among Us...."

I was at church yesterday. We celebrated the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. It's a Holy Days of Obligation for Catholics in the United States.

"Mother of God?!"

First of all, Catholics don't worship Mary, Elvis, or wealth: or, rather, we're told not to. Worshiping anyone or anything that's not God is idolatry, and a very bad idea. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2097, 2112-2114, 2534)

We are told that Jesus is God, and that Mary is the mother of Jesus. Folks have tied themselves in metaphysical knots, trying to not think that Mary gave birth to Jesus the Nazarene, without being the mother of Jesus the Son of God.

I prefer to slice through the question my Lord's identity with Occam's razor. (December 18, 2012)

I've decided that Jesus is I AM. (John 8:57-58)

It's also quite clear that Mary is the mother of Jesus. (John 2:1-8)

The way I see it, Mary is the mother of Jesus. Jesus is God. Therefore Mary is the mother of God. It's not complicated. Astonishing, miraculous, epic in scope; yes: complicated, no.

Two Millennia of Sidestepping Truth

Some folks have had trouble believing that Jesus is both God and human. This was the case before the:
I suspect that when folks tend to see the Maurya Empire, the Ming Dynasty, and Kipling's one with Nineveh and Tyre poem as roughly contemporaneous, someone will still be trying to sidestep the idea that Jesus is God: and is, really, human. (December 26, 2012)

True God and True Man

The idea that God would choose to become one of us, and willingly be tortured to death for our sake, seems - unusual, to say the least. But that's what I believe. More to the point, that's what the Church says.

We're also told that Jesus the Man, and Jesus the Son of God, are the same person, the person who:
  • Was born in Bethlehem
  • Performed miracles
  • Died at Golgotha
  • Is our Lord Jesus Christ
    • True God
    • True Man
    • Lord of Glory
    • One of the Holy Trinity
    (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 468, 469)
Jesus died: but he didn't stay dead, and that's almost another topic. (March 11, 2012)

"...We Saw His Glory..."

The Gospel according to John starts by saying that Jesus is the incarnate Word of God:
"1 2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

"He was in the beginning with God.

"3 All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to

"through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race;

"4 the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. "

"And the Word became flesh 9 and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."
(John 1:1-5, 14)
Those are among my favorite verses in the Bible: a "magnificent prologue," as the New American Bible's Introduction to the book says. I enjoy re-reading them, just to hear the rhythm of ideas, repeated in my native language.

But, as I said last Sunday, I also like to sort ideas into hierarchical lists. For me, it's a way of studying them:
  • In the beginning was
    • The Word
      • Was with God
      • Was God
  • All things came to be through him
    • Without him nothing came to be
  • Through him was life
    • This life was the light of the human race
  • The light
    • Shines in the darkness
    • The darkness has not overcome it
  • And the Word
    • Became flesh
    • Made his dwelling among us
  • We saw his glory
    • The glory as of the Father's only Son
    • Full of grace and truth
    (John 1:1-5, 14)
I don't know which makes it easier, believing that Jesus is God: seeing him on that mountain; or knowing what happened afterward. And that - is another topic.

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