God Does Not Impose
Gospel Reflection for Tuesday, December 5, 2023
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
"I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him."
Turning to the disciples in private he said,
"Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it."
Truly, generations had longed to see the coming of the Messiah. Now, He had come, but few recognized Him. Why is that? Well, the prophecies referenced in today’s other readings make clear that the Messiah was expected to come as a great and powerful king who would bring peace to all the world. Consider the first reading:
On that day,
A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide aright for the land's afflicted.
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.
On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the nations,
The Gentiles shall seek out,
for his dwelling shall be glorious.
Yet, Jesus came as an infant to a poor family. He did not appear in His power and glory. He came as a weak and helpless baby, fully human and with His divinity concealed. Why is this?
I believe that God respects our free will far too much to have openly revealed His power and divine nature. Imagine for a moment, if the King had come in His Glory with power and might and all the earth trembled. Man would have had no choice but to believe. But, it is also true that all of humanity would have been immediately accountable for sin.
So, perhaps, Christ came in the most humble form so as not to impose Himself upon our free will and to give us time to choose to believe and repent. It has been about 2,000 years since our Lord’s incarnation. Still, many have not even been taught the truth of HIs divinity. Those born into modern, secular households may come from several generations of Christianity but be taught to oppose Christianity, while those of other religions may have no clear idea of Christian teaching.
God is giving us plenty of time in His mercy. Each Advent season we are reminded that the Messiah has, indeed, come and His blessings are upon all who will accept them. While we still await universal “peace on earth and good will to man”, it is there for each of us if we can but recognize Him.
Judson Carroll is the author of several books, including his newest, A Daily Catholic Devotional Reflections on the Daily Mass Readings January-June, 2024. It is Available in paperback on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0CPD1DC7Q
Confirmation, an Autobiography of Faith. It is also Available in paperback on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0C47Q1JNK
His new podcast is The Uncensored Catholic https://www.spreaker.com/show/the-uncensored-catholic