A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Monday, March 26, 2007

The will of God and the body of Christ

Very recently there was a TV show that packaged bad archeology (widely denounced by scholars) with misleading (if not deceitful) inferences to make untrue allegations about Christ.

Those involved with the TV show speciously denied that their nonsense should have any negative effect on the Christian faith. They did this by denying the core Christian belief in the bodily resurrection of Christ or denying that it is a core belief.

St. Paul (1 Corinthians 15:17-20) and all of Christendom, of course, see it differently.

If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile
and you are still in your sins.
Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ
have perished.
If for this life only we have hoped in Christ,
we are of all men most to be pitied.

But in fact
Christ has been raised from the dead,
the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.

The reality of Christ and the paschal mystery is of course transcendent and spiritual but it is also inescapably corporeal: the salvific will of God accomplished in and through the body of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is not just the teaching of Christ or the spirit of Christ, it is in and through the body of Christ that God’s will - our salvation – is accomplished.

Today’s readings and today’s solemnity of the Annunciation focus precisely on this reality. In this feast we celebrate the angel Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, Mary’s acceptance of God’s will, and the Incarnation of Christ – son of God and son of Mary, true God and true man.

We find this theme of the will of God and the Body of Christ most explicitly in the second reading (Hebrews 10:4-10):

For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire,
but a body you prepared for me;
in holocausts and sin offerings you took no delight.
Then I said, ‘As is written of me in the scroll,
behold, I come to do your will, O God.’”

The salvific will of God is accomplished in and through the body of Christ.

By this “will,” we have been consecrated
through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ

once for all.

We find something very similar in the Gospel account of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38). Mary, of course, is the means through which the body of Christ is prepared, but the critical moment for this is her acceptance of God’s will.

Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.

Indeed, very much the same as

Behold, I come to do your will, O God

On the contrary, King Ahaz in today’s first reading (Isaiah 7:10-14) is so focused on his own will and selfish desires that he tries to block the will of God (of course, he is not successful).

The LORD spoke to Ahaz, saying:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary people,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel…

Today’s celebration of the Annunciation not only reminds us of the reality of the Incarnation, it challenges us to set aside our selfishness and error, to unite our will ever more closely with the will of God, and to manifest that will in our own lives corporeally – not just in what we think and say but also in what we do, especially in what we do for the true good of others and for the greater glory of God.