Jesus, our Savior, is the presence of God among us. Are we Christians the presence of Jesus in the world?
The name of the Messiah, of the Lord’s Anointed, is Jesus. His name shows that his mission is to save his people from their sins. Hence, his presence means salvation from all selfishness that destroys us, estranging us from God and neighbor.
The presence of Jesus means, moreover, that finally laws and prophecies will attain their fullness. The reason is that Jesus has come to fulfill the law and the prophets. And really, as Philip tells Nathanael, Moses and the prophets speak about him.
Indeed, then, the oracle about “God-with-us” reaches fulfillment as the Virgin Mary conceives and bears a son. In other words, the prophetic sign acquires its fullest sense with the conception and birth of Jesus.
God freely gives the sign of Emmanuel to Joseph, thoughtful, righteous, merciful and unwilling to put Mary to shame. But the sign is especially for the likes of Ahaz who are of little faith. Frightened in the face of the threat of war and invasion, Ahaz relies more on Assyria than on the Almighty.
Relying on the presence of God, we can scale any wall.
What God wants of us is that we rely on him wholly, warning that unless our faith is firm, we will not be firm. He will rebuke us if we do everything to protect our security, but forget him as its Guarantor (see Is 22, 8-11).
Yes, the Maker of all wants us to look to him and fix our gaze on him. And we can do it, since the invisible God has become visible through the presence of “God-with-us.”
For his part, Jesus guarantees us his powerful presence always, until the end of the age. He does so in order that we, in turn, may be his presence in the world, responsible for our Christian name.
Jesus is present where Christians preach the Gospel and proclaim his death until he comes. And people whom others deem to be full of mercy surely make Emmanuel present (SV.EN XI:308) as well.
Grant, Lord, that we may be holy and righteous in your presence all the days of our life
18 December 2016
4th Sunday Advent (A)
Is 7, 10-14; Rom 1, 1-7; Mt 1, 18-24