WHY did Jesus come to earth as He did—clothing His divine nature in the DNA, chromosomes, and genetic heritage of the woman, Mary? For Jesus could very well have simply materialized in the desert, entered immediately upon forty days of temptation, and then emerged in the Spirit for His three year ministry. But instead, He chose to walk in our footsteps from the very first instance of His human life. He chose to become little, helpless, and weak, for…
…he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. (Heb 2:17))
It is precisely in this kenosis, this self-emptying and subjugation of His divinity that a profound message of love is transmitted to each of us personally.
We read in the Gospel that Jesus enters the temple for the first time as a baby. As I wrote last week, the Old Testament is but a shadow of the New; the temple of Solomon is but a type of the spiritual temple inaugurated by Christ:
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you…? (1 Cor 6:19)
At this momentous intersection of the Old with the New, the imagery and divine message comes into focus: I desire to enter into your heart as My temple, and I come to you as gentle as a babe, as docile as a dove, and as Mercy incarnate. What Jesus spoke silently from the arms of Mary was made explicit when later He announced by His lips:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that te world might be saved through him. (John 3:16-17)
So, dear sinner: stop running from this Babe! Stop believing the lie that you are not worthy of this Child who wishes to take abode in your very heart. You see, like the stable at Bethlehem, neither was the temple prepared for the coming of the Lord. It was overrun with noise, commerce, money-changers, tax collectors, and the cobwebs and sleepiness of waiting for centuries for the Messiah.
And suddenly there will come to the temple the LORD whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. (Mal 3:1)
And Jesus is coming to you right this moment, perhaps unexpectedly. You are not prepared? Neither were the high priests. You are a sinner? So am I. You cannot make your heart worthy of Him? Neither can I. But Jesus makes us worthy Himself, He who is love, because “love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Pet 4:8 You are His temple and He enters the gates of your heart when you welcome Him by two words: forgive me. He enters your courts when you say with the heart five more words: Jesus I trust in You. He then enters into the very depths of your being, making your heart the Holy of holies, when you keep His commandments.
Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (John 14:23)
Be not afraid… those are the words spoken to Mary before she conceived this Babe in her womb. So too, the words are repeated to you this day, you who are sinners who are confused, trapped, and wandering in darkness: be not afraid! For you see, Simeon does not go looking for Jesus, but Jesus comes looking for him, as He seeks you now. And He comes in the arms of Mary. Whether you love or know this woman or not (as neither did Simeon), she comes carrying Him, as though holding a Lantern, into the darkness of your heart. How do I know? Because you are reading this now, she who has led you to these words. And she says one thing only: do whatever He tells you. cf. John 2:5 And He says:
Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest… (Matt 11:28)
I have not come to condemn you. He is a baby. How can you be afraid? He is a warm and gentle lantern, not a blazing, exploding sun. He is weak and even helpless before your willpower, not a forceful king—the King of kings, dressed in swaddling clothes and infinite love.
There is only one thing you should fear, dear sinner, and that is to refuse this gentle coming of Jesus.
Have confidence, My child. Do not lose heart in coming for pardon, for I am always ready to forgive you. As often as you beg for it, you glorify My mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1488
For none of us knows when we will blink once, and find ourselves on the other side of eternity… standing before Him in all His glory, power, majesty, and justice.
…before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice… —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1146
You are loved! Merry Christmas to all my brothers and sisters!
First published Feb 2, 2015.
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|1.||↑||1 Pet 4:8|
|2.||↑||cf. John 2:5|