Christ is come! Glorify Him!

The good news is not just an historical event; by uniting his divinity with our humanity, God opened a two-way door that remains open here and now.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bishop John Kudrick

“The beginning of the gospel (the good news) of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1). It has been noted that this first sentence of St. Mark’s Gospel is not a title for the first chapter but for the entirety of the book.

Jesus’ life and death on earth, together with his resurrection, is a beginning of Good News, good news of perpetual beginning (life), rather than a progressive end (death).

The Good News is actually that the world remains in a state of beginning. Even the last book of the Bible ends with Jesus declaring “I am [both] the beginning and the end” (Rv 22:13). “The end” and “the beginning” are one and the same.

The good news is not just an event of history, that a baby was born 2000 years ago. Neither is it just that God considered us worthy of visiting us. Rather the good news is that, by uniting his divinity with our humanity, God opened a two-way door, one that remains open here and now. God continues to enter our life and invites us to begin, to become “partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Pt 1:4).

This good news continues, by the power of the Holy Spirit, as the members of the church unite ourselves with the holy sacrifice and proclaim with our lives salvation in Jesus Christ. This good news is always new and always good.

By the human conception and birth of Jesus Christ, Son of God, God allows us to regain that humanity that Adam and Eve knew in the Garden of Eden. He allows us to be fully human, fully alive. In this way God shows that he is God and calls us to humanity in its fullness.

Our participation is important. Christians know what is meant to be fully alive even if we don’t always live accordingly. We see lives from the perspective of “beginning” and rely on the mercy of God as we grow to full maturity in Christ.

We find the theme of beginning a number of times in Holy Scripture.

Jesus reminds us that “In the beginning of time, humanity was created male and female” (Mt 19:4), complementing each other. This serves as an icon for all right relationships.

St. John describes Jesus’ changing of water into wine as “the beginning of his miracles” (Jn 2:11). These miracles continue to this very day for those who would see them.

St. Paul connects our holiness and fidelity to the truth with “the beginning” (cf. 2 Th 2:13). He also teaches that we must share with the world our knowledge of Jesus Christ, as he refers to him as “the beginning” (cf. Col 1:18-28).

Righteous living, cooperation with God’s (miraculous) actions, remaining holy within the true faith, sharing that faith, are all part of being fully alive – signs of beginning. In this way, we may realize that, in the words of the Broadway musical “Purly,”: “The world ain’t comin’ to an end, my friend. The world’s just comin’ to a start.”

This knowledge is the source of our hope as we note losses and disappointments. This knowledge is the source of hope for our church. This knowledge is the source of hope for the world. We are for beginning, not ending.

This is why we may image Jesus Christ as an infant. This is why we use the word “is” rather than “was” when we proclaim: Christ is born! Glorify him!

Bishop John Kudrick is the Bishop Parma, Ohio.

Teachings of Christ

“Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32 ESV)

Lenten Prayer of St. Ephrem

O Lord and Master of my life, drive away from me the spirit of despondency, carelessness, love of power, and idle chatter. (Prostration)

Rather grant to me, Your servant, the spirit of wholeness of being, humility, patience, and love. (Prostration)

Yes, O Lord and King, grant that I may see my own faults and not condemn my brother; for You are blessed to the ages of ages. Amen. (Prostration)

Random Proverb

"My son, do not lose sight of these — keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul." (Proverbs 3:21,22a ESV)

Pray Without Ceasing

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Wisdom from the Church Fathers

Acts of charity, almsgiving and all the external good works do not suppress the arrogance of the heart; but noetic meditation, the labor of repentance, contrition and humility -- these humble the proud mind.

Elder Joseph the Hesychast