Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the Seventh Day of Christmas 2011-2012

At Christmas time we celebrate the Incarnation—in Jesus Christ God was among us in the flesh.

At Christmas time we embrace the Re-Incarnation—the Church is the Body of Christ enlivened by the Spirit of Christ in the world today and thus bears witness to the world of the continuing fact of “God with us.”

At this Christmas time let us also acknowledge another kind of Re-Incarnation, a difficult, strange, and wonderful one.

Jesus told us about it when he spoke of the nations being gathered before him when he comes in his glory; he said,

Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)

Somehow, then, Christ is present in those who are hurting, who are destitute, who are in trouble, and who are in need.

Somehow, then, when we touch and help them, it is Christ touching and helping Christ.

It is a wonderful mystery.

And yet it is clear what we must do if Jesus Christ is who the Bible says he is, if the Church is what the Bible says we are, and if hurting people are who Jesus says they are.

On this Seventh Day of Christmas, may God give us the eyes of Christ to see Christ in hurting people…

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