Advent IV

For the Third Sunday in Advent, I reflected on the joy inherent in the Christmas promises, as we look to the past, present and future. Then some two days later I was felled by a bacterial infection that kept me in bed for the next five days, unable to do much beyond sleep, take my antibiotics and drink a little ginger ale. I was not able to reflect much on the readings for today or to think about much at all.  There are so many sorts of healing needed by all of us, physical, spiritual, mental and emotional, but all of our weaknesses make us vulnerable. To put it bluntly, I hate being physically sick. I hate feeling weak and alone and, frankly, useless. All I did was lay there for five days when I could have been grading, or decorating, or buying Christmas presents or...something!

What an incredible choice God made to come into the world as an infant. Vulnerable, weak, helpless, dependent: what precisely can a baby do? God chose to share our humanity from the beginning, sanctifying every age as (I believe) Irenaeus said, and joining us in solidarity. Thanks be to the God who came to us as we are, who knows us in our strength and our weakness, who loves us for who we are and not for what we can do. As it is, the greatest gift is love, and that is available to all, regardless of their station, age or ability in life, to give and to receive, and it is the gift that God gave to us in the person of his son, born as a vulnerable child. May your Christmas be filled with the love of God and that of your family and friends.

John W. Martens

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Immigration officials “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement” and “have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws.”
Michael O'LoughlinFebruary 21, 2017
El sistema de libre empresa es compatible con nuestra preocupación por los desfavorecidos, escribe un economista y católico converso.
Arthur C. BrooksFebruary 21, 2017
The pope's emphasis on protecting undocumented workers is particularly significant for Europe and the United States, where the treatment of refugees and migrants has been a consistent challenge.
Gerard O'ConnellFebruary 21, 2017
With his 5,800-word manifesto on “Building Global Community,” the Facebook C.E.O. seems to be easing ever more into his role as benevolent dictator of the media universe.
Nathan SchneiderFebruary 21, 2017