December 25, 2013

FROM THE ARCHIVES: THE SCANDAL:

Facing the scandal of Christmas, will we turn away? Or believe and obey?: A Scriptural Reflection on the Fourth Sunday of Advent (Carl E. Olson, December 19, 2010, Ignatius Insight)

[T]he most scandalous, outrageous claim of all is that the God who created all things became flesh and dwelt among us, stooping so low as to be born in a cave some two thousand years ago. "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven," states the Nicene Creed, "by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man."

No one, other than the occasional Scrooge, is opposed to celebrating family or giving gifts or singing joyful songs. The scandal of Christmas, however, is that the Incarnation is not a vague, sentimental concept, but a stunning, concrete reality. It is an Event that is a Person. And that Person, Jesus Christ, requires a response. If the Lord did give a sign, as the prophet Isaiah states in today's Old Testament reading, we need to ask, "What is it? What does it mean?"

If the Son of God did descend from King David "according to the flesh," as St. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, we should wonder, "How? Why? Who?" If this son of the virgin is Emmanuel, we must consider, "How will I respond to the God who is with us?"

Joseph Ratzinger, in a reflection on Christmas (The Blessing of Christmas, Ignatius, 2007), went right to the heart of the matter. "We are too proud to see God," he wrote, "We are like Herod and his theological specialists: on this level, we no longer hear the angels singing. On this level, we may find God either threatening or boring--but nothing more than that! On this level, we no longer want to be 'his own possessions'--that is, God's own possession. All we want it to belong to our own selves. And this is why we cannot receive the one who comes into his own property, for that would oblige us to make a radical change and acknowledge that he possesses us."

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[originally posted: 12/19/10]


Posted by at December 25, 2013 5:28 AM
  

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