Thursday, December 27, 2018

White, Red, White, Red

When we celebrate Christmas we often think of the colors red and white, but we rarely think of the fact that those are the liturgical colors that get alternated on the first four days.  Christmas Day was white. Yesterday, Sr. Stephen the Protomartyr was Red, then today we jump back to white for St. John the Evagelist. 

It is St. John whose gospel we read on Christmas Day. It is St. John in the introduction to his gospel is able to span all of time. He takes us back and reminds us that Jesus is the Word through whommthe universe is made. Then it brings it all the way forward to our time in verse 12 when he says,

But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God;

St. Iraneus, Athanasius, and Aquinas are all quotes as the catechism explains what it means for us.

The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature":78 "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God."79 "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God."80 "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods."81

To some this can sound like heresy. 

Perhaps the reason we are so reticent to embrace this truth is because it is easier for us to think of ourselves as frail sinners. If we were to embrace the notion that we are in any way sharers in His divine nature, then what excuse would we have. It we were to embrace the transforming power of grace, then we would be forced to embrace the fact that sin is always a free choice. We choose to be uncharitable. We choose to act contrary to the gospel. If an act wasn’t a free choice, then it cannot be called a sin. Yes, there are accidents, but by definition they are not sins.  Yes, there are those who suffer from mental illness and cannot control their actions, but neither are those sins. 

St. John reminds us not only what we should be, but what we can be, what we are. How do we do it? — one choice at a time. To us has been given the power, if we would only believe.