January 1st, Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you.  As we begin 2019 I had some thoughts to share with you tonight that came to me during my evening prayer. God’s love for you.  God’s love for all of us.  It’s impossible for us as finite human beings to contemplate the magnitude of God’s existence for us anymore than an ordinary rock can contemplate the existence of a human being.  Medieval art depicted God as some old guy with a big white beard sitting on a throne in the clouds next to Jesus.  It’s beyond wrong to think that this is an accurate representation of the creator of the universe.  The creator of an infinite universe would have to be just as infinite.

So why did God need to create a universe?  Why did God even have to create a world?  Why did God have to create you and I?  To share with us His infinite Love.  It’s reasonable to conclude that an infinite God would no doubt love infinitely.  To share that love God created you and I, and in order for you and I to have a place to live God needed to create a place for us to live.  For that to happen that place needed a space and time to exist as well, that is to say a universe to exist in.

Look at it from this point of view, the love of two parents creates a child.  That child needs a place to grow and live.  The love of parents to provide for that child leads them to provide that environment just as God gave us a place in the universe for our existence, out of simple love.

Yet somehow we as humans find ways to mess things up.  Adam and Eve brought sin into the world through their disobedience . They damaged that loving relationship in such a way that finite humans could not repair that relationship to an infinite God.  Only God would be able to do that.  Only an infinite God could repair the infinite damage done by finite humans.  But since it was humans that made the mess it had to be humans that got us out of it as well. You see, it’s a paradox.  Unless God was to become a human.  Only someone who was both God and man could do this, we know him as Jesus.

Anyone who has played sports can probably say that on occasion when a team just isn’t pushing themselves as hard in practice than they are capable of, coaches sometimes resort to drastic measures like getting in the middle of things and practicing just as hard with their players or even harder at the risk of injuring themselves.  As a player you are humiliated that some old guy can run as fast as you and you can’t afford to let that happen.  You dig a little deeper from within and you push yourself a little harder and the next thing you know, the whole team has found themselves doing more than they ever could be fore thanks to a little hands on motivation by the coach.  However, that motivation isn’t strictly driven by ego.  It’s also driven by respect.  The respect of, that guy cares enough and wants enough for us to risk humiliating or hurting himself in front of us.  If he can do it, I can do it too.

My dad told me the story about how when he was a young boy, his grandparents lived with him.  One of my dad’s chores was to carry firewood up from the basement for the wood fire cookstove in the kitchen.  Most five year old boys aren’t always the most motivated of people.  But his 91 year old blind grandpa told my dad and his siblings, “come on kids, if I can do it, you can too”.  My blind great-grandpa didn’t need to do that, but he humbled himself at the risk of tripping and falling on something in a successful effort to motivate my dad and his siblings to do their chores.

God can do anything.  Just look around.  God created everything for us out of Love.  In my evening prayers tonight one of the antiphons read “O marvelous exchange! Man’s Creator has become man, born of a virgin.  We have been made sharers in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity”.  Out of infinite love an infinite God became man so that we could become like Him.  God didn’t need to do that.  God doesn’t need to do anything.  But God loves us so much that he gave us Jesus.  Only through Jesus can we fully share in God’s love for us.  Can we truly appreciate that?

How many of us can say that we love God back even a fraction of the love that He shares with us?  While Christmas day is behind us, I am convinced that we should treat everyday with the joy and love that we share with others on Christmas day everyday of the year.  God’s love isn’t shared with us one day of the year and our love and joy shouldn’t be contained to one day of the year either.  God humbled Himself to be born in a cave amongst the animals.  God humbled himself to be beaten, humiliated, crucified and ultimately to be killed out of His infinite love for us.  The least we can do is share God’s love with everyone around us.  As Jesus said, “Love one another as I have loved you.”

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