Jesus descends into the waters of baptism: this descent, this surrender to the will of his Abba, this immense turning of his whole being towards his Abba, towards giving himself over entirely to God, releases the even more immense power of Love, a Love that unites Father to Son, a Love that will never leave Jesus and will become his sustaining Source throughout his whole ministry, his death and Resurrection.
‘Here I am the servant of the Lord’, ‘let it be done to me according to your word’ (Lk 1:38): all ways of saying ‘yes’. Our consent has given us seeds of new life: “Of his fullness we have all received, grace and truth” (Jn 1:16). We have been gifted with ‘grace and truth’ in and through the birth of Christ. How do we then live from this gift? What can help us to not let this gift be ignored, or not believed in, or even killed by the negativity that can assault us in myriad of ways?
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
Creche figures (Shown Above) made from clay by the sisters in the days before Christmas as part of our preparation for the Holy Feast.
Our ‘yes’ uttered once again: not hesitatingly, not with being able to see what it would ask of us, this ‘yes’ uttered fully with every ounce of love and faith we could muster, following the pattern of her first ‘yes’. Mary’s ‘virginal yes’, uttered into eternity, a first, pure, whole in its heart’s intention, uttered in response to God’s never before invitation, an invitation to birth forth his Son. This encounter, a breaking open in history: God’s invitation and the human response.
We are given hopeful and evocative images from the first reading for this Third Sunday of Advent: “In my God is the joy of my soul” (Is 61:10). Well, why? What elicits this burst of joy? “For God has robed me with a robe of salvation and wrapped me in a mantle of justice” (Is 61:10). This is the promise of the Coming One. Salvation will be bestowed, accompanied by a ‘mantle of justice’. A mantle of justice covering our earth, falling like snow, wrapping us all in its power to heal and to change all of our lives. This Christ birth comes with the power for growth and change: it begins with each one of us, and it will happen in spite of ourselves!!! “As the earth brings forth its plants…so will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all the nations” (Is 61:11).
Image above:Masako Tobita (b.1954), Hampshire County Council’s Contemporary Art Collection https://artuk.org/discover/stories/millennial-pink-the-artists-who-got-there-first
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