Saturday, February 2, 2013

Growing like Jesus

Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν [ἐν τῇ] σοφίᾳ καὶ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ χάριτι παρὰ θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις.

This last verse from Today's gospel, for the Feast of the Presentation, may be among the most difficult from some Christians to grasp. Those first three words,"And Jesus grew", run contrary to the heretical notion still common among some that Jesus was born, because of his divinity, with all knowledge. Since the beginning of Christianity there have been those who wanted to play down his humanity.

St. Luke tells us he had to grow in three ways. The simplest and most easily acceptable helikia- size or stature, however tall he may have ended up being.

The other two are more of a challenge for some to accept:
Sophia - wisdom, and
Charis - favor, it goes on to say before God and men.

Could he have chosen to come into the world as some imagine? yes, but he did not. And the second reading explains why.

Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham;
therefore, 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.
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered,
he is able to help those who are being tested.

We worship a God who loved one creature, the human being, so much that he chose to empty himself and experience every aspect of human life from conception to death.

You say what about sin? I would respond that Jesus experienced temptation but not sin, reminding us that sin is not part of what it means to be human. God did not create sin, we did. It was a misuse of human free will that brought sin into the world.

Sin is not an essential part of what it means to be human. Jesus showed us what it truly means to be human as God intended it, and thought his death and ressurection gave us the means to that life.

Today we bless candles, and celebrate Jesus as the light of the world. Let us, with the help of grace, walk always as children of the light and may we grow like Jesus in wisdom, and stature, and favor before God and men.