I heard a bishop refer to the birth of a Christ as a revolution, not a time of cozy sentiments. Initially, this kind of rocked my world, as I really enjoy my Christmas coziness. Upon further thought, though, it makes perfect sense.
In Sunday’s gospel we’ll hear these words from John the Baptist (Lk 3:17); “His winnowing fan is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” We also hear Jesus say; “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! (Lk 12:49) and “Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” (Lk 12:51)
While Eve grasped at Divinity, Mary said, “Let it be done to me.” Bishop Robert Barron
Why would God use a sweet baby to start a revolution? To get our attention and walk the human journey right along with us. The Old Testament is filled with stories of turmoil, pain and dissent and while God remained faithful to his covenant, the Israelites were unfaithful and attached to their sinful ways. We, too, struggle with the same sins. God knew we need a flesh and blood savior and in an astonishing act of humility and love, He sent his Son as a baby. Someone who was like us, in all things but sin. Someone to teach, heal, LOVE, and lead us to our eternal home with Him in Heaven.
Not only did we get the Christ child, but we receive the remarkable examples of Mary and Joseph, who in their deep humility said “yes” to God’s plan. Were they unsure? Yes, but their faith and trust in God superseded their human fear. For they needed a Savior, too.
How do we prepare for a revolution?
John tells us we must repent. Go to confession! It’s why Christ instituted the sacrament through Peter and the apostles. He saved us, yes, but our human weak ness requires our human action to seek forgiveness from a priest. The result is an outpouring of God’s grace!
Challenged to give back.
John the Baptist challenged his disciples and us as well, to share our clothing and food, be satisfied with our wages, and not to falsely accuse anyone (gossip). These acts of charity usher in God’s kingdom on earth because we are all part of the human family.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph began the revolution with a simple “yes” to God’s will. They modeled faith, hope, trust, love and charity for us perfectly. We, too, are called to participate with our own “yes”, practice the virtues and live a sacramental life. Our example can keep the revolution alive.
Written By: Tobey Neuberger