Jesus himself is the proof that strength, becomes perfect in weakness. Christians, then, cannot but be weak, and so, strong (2 Cor 12, 9-10).
Matthew, more than the other evangelists, speaks of the words of Scriptures reaching their fulfillment in Jesus. He portrays Jesus as the one who fulfills the law and the prophets. Through Jesus, God fulfills his promises to his people and their hopes. So, Jesus is the new Moses, the new liberator, lawgiver and leader of the new people of God. And as it was not easy for Moses, so it is not easy for Jesus. But God gives Jesus the kind of strength and help that God gave to the self-doubting Moses (Ex 3, 11).
Yes, it was tough for Moses to follow God’s call. For the most powerful in Egypt persecuted him. And the very people he was leading turned against him and challenged him (see Ps 106). They angered God and Moses suffered because of them. And in the end, he lacked strength, for the people so embittered him that rash words crossed his lips.
It is even tougher, however, for Jesus. His own do not welcome him. Surely, his birth and the Magi’s visit and worship bring joys and hopes. But these soon give way to the griefs and anxieties that refugees bear. Almost at the beginning, then, Matthew tells us how Jesus fulfills his calling and carries out his mission.
Jesus does it not from the position of strength that powerful rulers have. Rather, he lives up to his calling and sending from the position of weakness. But being weak, he is, then, strong. At the end, though feeling that God has forsaken him (Mt 27, 46; Mk 15, 34), he digs deep and finds strength. For he hands himself over to the Father (Lk 23, 46).
The true followers of Jesus work with him not from strength, but from weakness.
Those who work with Jesus for a better world are to follow his way. They are to start out from weakness, the weakness of those whom today’s Herods and Archelauses threaten and go after. We are not his body nor his family, if we fall for “an ecclesiology or a manufactured orthodoxy that trades on privilege, power and deception.” It is a sad day when Christianity is no longer about morality and faith, but about power. Or when we think we have to let others know who are their bosses (see SV.EN XI:313). We do not want to betray the Savior of the world; he shows himself as “annihilated … under the form of a child” (SV.EN VI:170).
Lord Jesus, you came to earth not in strength, but weakness, not to lord it over others, but to serve. We recall, at your Supper, your giving your life in ransom for all. May this remembrance be an effective pledge of our readiness to do as you did.
29 December 2019
Holy Family (A)
Sir 3, 2-6. 12-14; Col 3, 12-21; Mt 2, 13-15. 19-23