“Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis” (And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us). This is the momentous and joyous occasion that we Christians celebrate and commemorate during this beautiful Christmas season. Christmas isn’t just about a babe being born in a manger, it’s about God coming to join us, even to become one of us, and thereby, to save and liberate us by sharing in and uniting Himself to our frail humanity.
What does it mean then that God became a human being?
It might be wise to consider the direct ramifications and implications of the Incarnation (God becoming man) before asking any further questions.
We as human beings are creatures of God, made by His designs. Yet, God consented to assume the form of His creatures in order to dwell among us. Scripture proclaims, God in His very nature is a Being of unending, unconditional love. In fact, St. John goes so far as to say that God is love (1 John 4:16). Think about it; this means that before the creation of our world, the universe, or all other forms of tangible elements, nothing else existed besides the eternal force of Love. Thus, God becomes tangible in Jesus Christ, descending, even taken on our humanity which He created, to show forth His boundless Love, which is the very essence of His being. Not only was the Almighty Word made flesh in Jesus Christ, but Love, was made incarnate, tangible, and real upon this earth. In order to understand the ways of real love and hope to imitate them genuinely, we must ponder and contemplate the actions of Jesus Christ, for He was the only perfect human expression of Love itself!
This love would of course impel Jesus Christ to His ultimate salvific destiny; to suffer horrible physical torment, to love even until the very end, to death, and to rise again from this death, triumphantly promising eternal life and happiness to all those who believe in and follow Him. Scripture speaks of our respective salvation as not something that we could merit but rather as a gift (John 3:16), something that God does for us. Thus, the Crucifixion did not necessarily have to occur in order for humanity to be reconciled to God. However, because God is Love itself, this was the way in which He chose to save and deliver us from the sinful forces that are present in our world. By giving of Himself, for our sake and benefit, He showed us the ultimate way in which we must move and live as an example for all people.
Another matter to consider is that Jesus, being the Word Incarnate experienced all the same feelings, emotions, desires, and pains that we did. However, He experienced all these things without sin. Just as we are tempted Jesus never gave in or was susceptible to the wiles of evil. Experiencing all that we do, even sexual feelings (although, to the best of our knowledge modern scholarship continues to prove that Jesus was probably not married), it is highly probable that Jesus could have had homosexual feelings at one point or another during His life upon this earth. Scripture speaks of St. John as being Jesus’ “beloved” disciple and the one whom He loved. We are even told that during the Last Supper John rested his head upon the chest of the Lord, in a gesture of both intimacy and adoration. Jesus, with the very wellspring of Love itself aflame within His Sacred Heart, did not spurn John’s gesture but rather welcomed it. This is of course only speculative on my part, but how can we not ask what this gesture says to us?
Love itself does not turn away the affections of another man but rather welcomes them, even if it was not His destiny to experience them. Love welcomes another expression of love and approves of it and blesses it by accepting John’s embrace.
Could the leaders of the Church not follow Christ’s example once again today, imitating the unending love flowing from His Sacred Heart, and embracing those individuals who are attracted to those of the same-sex?
Zechariah; the husband of the Virgin Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, describes the coming of the Messiah as “the dawn from on high” (Luke 1:78) breaking upon us. He does so, in the Gospel of Luke, after his speech has been restored, following a lengthy period of being struck mute as a consequence for not believing the angel’s words proclaiming to him that his wife, in her old age, would bear a son. Jesus Christ, as God and Love Incarnate, is indeed this new dawn which illumines the world in its confusion, despair, and sinfulness. As the Light of the World, Jesus has cast an everlasting testament of love, justice, and peace. How long will individuals, even those within the Church, continue to hide from His light, this new “dawn” which gives humanity a radical new and liberating way of living out our experiences as creatures of God? How long will the “Dawn from on high” be obscured to continue banal and tired ways of existence?
God became one of us to liberate us from the forces of sin and death. In order to grow in greater conformity to His likeness we must become more like Him, radiating unceasing love, even radically. Realizing the ways of the Divine means that love has no boundaries. When can we understand that questioning the boundaries we already have in place is not of the Devil, but could be of God, growing ever closer to radiating His all-encompassing, undying, unconditional Love that is His very essence? The Word was made flesh to reveal His undying love for us, in order to imitate Him daily we must be willing to die to our own fears and inhibitions giving way for a new “Dawn” to break upon us and renew the face of the earth!