January 3, 2018 Christmas Weekday

Lectionary: 206


If you consider that God is righteous, you also know that everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him. See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are.
When the serpent tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden he offered her what every human being wants, that she would be like God. 
In fact, that is what God offers us. Saint John, in his first letter, suggests we "consider that God is righteous." It's clear from that, "everyone who acts in righteousness is begotten by him." 
Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, impelled and guided by his Spirit as we advance toward the Father, we act in righteousness, precisely as we should. 
What's more, "...we may be called children of God! Yet so we are!" 
The problem was not our Progenitors' noble aspiration; it was first, their taking it upon their own initiative; and, second, their doing so in clear violation of God's bann, "thou shalt not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." 
No one should blame anyone for the desire to be like God; it comes with our human nature, with our being created in God's likeness. When we look in the mirror we see the image of God, who is infinitely beautiful, fascinating and desirable. In God we see power, authority, beauty, goodness, justice, gentleness, mercy, compassion and every delight. Who would not want those qualities? They are indeed God's intended gifts. 
But there is a time for everything under heaven and only God knows the hour when he bestows those gifts, or the manner in which they're bestowed. 
Our Catholic tradition reminds us that righteousness is given to those who practice humility, penance and mortification. Saint Francis saw that clearly as he stretched out his hand to touch the cross, that terrifying tree which is prickled with thorns. He saw 
that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom.
Even as his father, neighbors and friends aspired to wealth and power, he strove to be like the God who had appeared at Bethlehem and Calvary, naked, needy and despised. 
Rather than boasting of our exploits Christians confess our sins; rather than promoting ourselves we admire our companions.
We wait for righteousness to be given to us, even as our practice of penance reminds us we have no claim on it. We aspire to be children of God by recognizing God's children all around us. There can be no sibling rivalry among us for first place in God's eyes. That has already been given to someone else
Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.