The prophet’s prediction of a mass migration back to the holy land contains in itself a seed of the Truth that is Christ our Lord. The people sing and shout for joy. Even the weak come: the blind, the lame, those with child, and those in labor. Their tears are tears of hope and joy, their steps along brooks of pristine waters, the path groomed and safe. Coming home they find grain and wine and oil, flocks and herds, and a watered garden. They come to a reconstructed paradise peopled by a community renewed and alive.
Every human story is gathered up and knit together in the truth of our common humanity. In this story of weal and woe, we recognize each other and there is considerable consolation in this. But there is an eternal consolation in the mystery of a grand recapitulation, the gathering of all human nature to the person of the eternal Word of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. Mysteriously, he takes from his mother our humanity. Doing so, he appears to leave behind his divine power, taking the form of a servant. But what he is in the life of God he remains even as his glory is hidden.
Our humanity, then, is woven into his and touched by his divine being. We are gathered and recreated in him. “For every believer regenerated in Christ, no matter in what part of the whole world he may be, breaks with the ancient way of life that is derived from original sin, and by being reborn is transferred to a new humanity. No longer is he reckoned to be of the stock of an earthly father, but of Christ, who became the Son of man in order that we would become sons of God” (Leo the Great, Sermo 6 in Nativitate Domini).
United to Christ, we possess “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3). This is an ancient truth tucked away before the first spark of creation. “He chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:4-6).
He chose us, destined us for the living of a divine will. This is done in the mystery of two freedoms: the freedom of God and our own. We are liberated by the divine will that calls and commissions us. “His thought for us does not constrain us; what he designs for us is that we should act freely; what he creates is liberty. To enter into God’s plan for us is to be most sovereignly ourselves” (Austin Farrer, The Essential Sermons, p. 39). Thus one great Catholic mind cuts into the mystery of predestination.
Our lives are gathered into Christ, recreated by his life-giving Spirit. As the Father and Son are united in the Love of one Spirit, so we, by adoption and grace, are grafted into the trinitarian life so that God is simply the atmosphere of our living and moving and being. We are, therefore, like the boy Jesus, “in the Father’s house” (Luke 2:49), for the call and path of divine providence is not episodic and provisional but persistent and eternal. Wherever we are, God is there as the being who wills us and loves us into being. We live in the Father’s house, listening and asking questions.
Look It Up
Read Luke 2:49. There’s no need to search. Jesus is always in the house of the Father.
Think About It
God gives us being and purpose and direction.