“They found the infant lying in a manger.” These simple words from our Gospel today have a profound impact on our personal lives. When we think about Jesus becoming man, I think it’s easy to focus solely on Jesus coming to die for our sins. While this is of course true and the act by which we receive salvation, I think we do injustice to the goodness of God if we only focus on this one act. Jesus came to die for our sins and much more.
I want to briefly reflect, during this beautiful day of Christmas, on two specific reasons that God became man. The first is told to us by St. Athanasius and affirmed in the Catechism. “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.” CCC 460
This is our ultimate destiny, that we become divine. Not that we become our own God or a God among many, but that we perfectly and intimately participate in the divinity of God himself. Jesus is the first man to be raised to the level of divine, fully God and fully man. In a way, he becomes one of us to show us our destiny. In the Catholic Church we call this divinization. John Paul II described it this way, “Divinization means participation in the inner life of God himself. In this state penetration and permeation of what is essentially human by what is essentially divine will then reach its peak, so that the life of the human spirit will reach a fullness that was absolutely inaccessible to it before.”
The other reason I want to focus on is the fact that God became man to remind us about who we are. Think about it, man was made good from the beginning. But unfortunately, the human race fell short of the glory of God through the sin of Adam and Eve. We constantly need reminders of who we are, how we were created, and how we should act. Jesus accomplishes all of these things for us. By becoming man he puts flesh on the love of the creator and reminds us through that flesh how good we really are.
Catechism 1015 states, “The flesh is the hinge of salvation. We believe in God who is creator of the flesh; we believe in the Word made flesh in order to redeem the flesh; we believe in the resurrection of the flesh, the fulfillment of both the creation and the redemption of the flesh.”
These are only a few of the reasons that God became one of us on this Christmas morning. For many more, check out this link to the Catechism: https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a3p1.htm
I hope these help you reflect on the beauty of what happened in Bethlehem so many years ago. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at email@example.com or check out his website at rodzinkaministry.com.
Feature Image Credit: Il ragazzo, https://unsplash.com/photos/4eWwSxaDhe4