Through the self-emptying life of Jesus Christ the life, light, and love of God the Father are received and then passed on. What this means is that Jesus Christ the man was always subjecting His human nature to His Divine Nature in order to reveal the life, understanding, and will of God the Father to all mankind. And so what He surrendered was all self-loving, self-willing, and self-seeking so that He could reveal God’s Word in [His] flesh perfectly to the world. Of course, God’s Word is His intended-meaning and purpose for man, the communication of His expectation for the creature now revealed fully in the life of His Son.
So Jesus Christ is the tabernacle through which God’s desire for men should be revealed. When we say this we mean that Jesus Christ willingly allows himself to be that vessel through whom we see and hear both what God wants for us and how He will effect it. From the beginning of the ages, God has never ceased to yearn for His human creation. That the Divine desire is known mostly only from the disability of the Fall does not vitiate the eternal nature that spawns this Love. God is love. He lovingly creates and His lovingly redeems. Had man not fallen, He would have desired to better him through a process of amelioration from good to better to best. Evil is not necessary to the progressive perfection of the species. God’s love is His nature. And His nature is the willing of pure goodness through pure wisdom.
But it is from the perspective and vantage point of the Fall that we must learn of God’s desire. Man –the Adam, falls. What is God’s response? Silence? No. He comes a-calling. He asks, Where are you? –not because He does not know but because He demands accountability and a confession. God the Word summons and interrogates the sinner. God always desires to have a Word with us. Our vocation is to know that however we stand in relation to His Word, He longs for that ongoing and habitual dialogue that brings us out of sin and into holiness. He never ceases to address us if we have the ears to hear. Sometimes we hear the Word as love, compassion, and pity for our condition. Sometimes we must hear the Word that judges, punishes, and corrects us. So we need to hear its prognosis of our condition and its recipe for our sanctification and betterment. Sometimes we hear the Word that best turns our hearts to thanksgiving and gratitude, and even praise and adoration of God.
God’s Word expresses the fact that He will never abandon us. Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid…for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deut. xxxi. 6) He can’t, for He is everywhere: Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence. If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. He desires us and has created us to desire Him. Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God. My soul is athirst for God, yea, even for the living God: when shall I come to appear before the presence of God? (Ps. xlii. 1,2) God intends that His one Life should be known in the Light of His Love, and embraced then as what can perfect our love for Him and our neighbors.
Prior to the Incarnation, there was a sense in which the Word was made flesh in men, in so far as the faithful were ruled and governed by it as preparation for its perfect redemptive communication in Jesus Christ. Of course, the Word was made flesh then as what was present to but other than the man who looked forward in faith and hope to unity with it. With the coming of the Saviour, the mind and desire of God are seen and heard by the person of Jesus Christ and communicated to those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear. The Word is made flesh perfectly in the Person of Jesus Christ, at first as what is communicated to be apprehended externally and visibly. God’s intention then becomes a work and a labour of God calling all men after and into Himself through the humanity of His Son. Every aspect of Jesus Christ’s life is the disclosure and manifestation of God’s verbal summoning for all men to find Him there. Come and see. (St. John i. 38, 39) Come follow me.(St. Matthew iv. 19) He makes the blind to see, the deaf to hear, and the lame to walk. What is the point of it all? He says, Come and see. He teaches men to love their enemies and to bless those who curse them. What does it mean? He says, Come and see. He suffers mockery, mimicry, stripping, whipping, scourging. He dies unjustly on the gibbet of Calvary. What does it mean? Again He says, Come and see. Come and see to discover and know the spiritual truth that lies at the heart of the Son of Man. Come and see to discover how and in what way God’s Word lives perfectly in the flesh. What we shall discover is that for God’s Word to live in the flesh, He must be always dying intentionally to the flesh in order to come alive to will of God the Father for the flesh.
So if the choices and movements of Christ’s life will mean anything to us, we must Come and see. If we do, we shall begin to penetrate and comprehend the breadth and depth of God’s love for us. And in encountering that love, we shall be touched and moved by beauty- a beauty that will never leave us the same, but forever changed, altered, and moved to embrace and treasure more of it. God is forever speaking to us. Will we desire that His Word might be made flesh is us so that we too become the sons of the Most High Father? Will we desire to be members of the Mystical Body of the Word forever being made better and new because this is the end and meaning of our human nature?
St. Michael and All Angels Sermons