Day 2: Jesus--Embodied Gift Who Activates Ours
Updated: Oct 15, 2021
Editor’s Note: TOB is the abbreviation for St John Paul II’s book “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body” Pauline Press
Jesus gave all to give us back Eden. He embodies the God who breaks into our prisons and invites us to paradise. He does so through every season and facet of His life on earth, wholly obedient to the Father: luminous Babe, the Lamb that was slain, and glorious Lord who walks on water, through walls, into our depths.
In the authority of His Blood and Spirit, Jesus descends into every facet of our lives. There, He breaks the grip of sin, and summons the deepest, most authentic parts of us. Asleep in the deep, we awake, groggy at first, but alive to His invitation, which is nothing less than His best for our confused humanity.
What a gift He is, this One whom St. Paul extols as ‘the firstborn over all creation’ and ‘the firstborn from among the dead,’ God’s very fullness through whom we are reconciled in full to the Father’s finest by ‘Jesus making peace through His blood, shed on a Cross’ (Col. 1: 15-20).
What a Savior! To be sure, Eden’s echo is not the only sound we hear in our noisy beings. Yet the longer and better we know Him, the truer paradise resonates from our depths. St. John Paul ll declares that in Christ, ‘the original power of the mystery of creation becomes the power of the mystery of redemption’ (TOB 46:5); ‘Jesus’ words reactivate our deepest inheritance and give it real power in human life’ (TOB 46:6).
We are talking real life, not swoony abstractions. I witnessed this in a CA-bound airplane crammed with 11 Comiskeys. My eldest son Greg had to lead his family: his wife who was slightly anxious as she tended to a 2-month-old son and a super excited/over-the-top toddler. He knew he had to ensure peaceable order for all 3; he did so with patient care that smacked of One greater living in Him.
Years ago, Jesus went after me with unrelenting grace. At one point, it was harder to pursue homosexual unreality than it was to heed Eden’s echo. I was outgrowing impurities, as they divided further this Jesus-follower in whom the Spirit was awakening original innocence and dignity. I wanted to walk in that Spirit, and so experience ‘the singular beauty that can permeate every sphere…of life’ (TOB 57:3). My life. Thank You, Jesus, for giving all to give me back beauty.
‘Jesus, rouse the gift we are. Help us to attend to the treasure you summon from the trash. Free us from our constant faultfinding and free us for vestiges of paradise in our memories and in our lives today. We refuse the liar who tries to rewrite Eden out of our histories. Unite us to the home of our original dignity.’
‘Jesus, have mercy on us as Your Church. We have abused weaker members, including children, and protected ourselves. We have violated the most vulnerable. In Your mercy, free us to superabound with justice. Grant us Kingdom discernment and courage to reform ourselves. May our repentance grant us Kingdom authority to strengthen the weak, discipline violators, and restore the violated.’