Both God and human, we claim our Jesus of Nazareth to be. All that is authentically Divine, all that is authentically human, wrapped up in one Divine Person. One of the great mysteries of our faith. Perhaps, the greatest mystery next to the Trinity. This perplexing thought is termed in theologically parlance as the “Hypostatic Union.” A term not used to often in every day speech.
It is a term that scholars have used to define a reality, one no person can completely understand. Although we do have a sense of it when we hear the gospel stories. A reality we can’t completely explain. Though too, we are not devoid of all explanations.
We have of course returned to Ordinary Time. And it is interesting to note that just weeks after we have celebrated the Incarnation, the Church draws our attention to this mysterious tenet of our faith, that Jesus is both God and human.
Last week you may recall, we visited the small town named Cana, a place that means place of reeds, to a small and seemingly insignificant wedding. So insignificant, that we don’t even know who was married, and moreover, why Jesus and his mother were there in the first place. But here, in this small village we begin to see the significance of God made man. Jesus showed the world, and shows us the depth of God’s involvement in our lives. Not a God that only hovers around us in times of life and death. Rather, one who shows his power and might even in daily problems, problems that by all honest accounts are somewhat unimportant. “They have no more wine.”
Even here, we find God. Even here in that which seems so inconsequential. Even here in the everydayness of our lives. And there is more still. God’s presence, no matter when, where and how, makes all things better, “You have saved the good wine until now?” Last week, Jesus had us peer into the depth of God. How ironic, to see this power displayed in something as changing water into wine– not exactly earth shattering on the surface.
This day, it seems, Jesus shows us his other side, his human side. And in doing so, he shows us ourselves. He shows us who we really are, what it means to be a human being. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me. For he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” This short passage quoted from Isaiah is exactly what it means to be a person. It is what creation is called to do.
We are all anointed as God’s own in baptism. The Spirit of the Lord is upon us all. And that Spirit is a reality that changes us, not just in words, or some philosophical ideology, but a change that gives us the eyes to see those who are oppressed, we have the power by our words and actions to work and proclaim liberty, we have the desire to help those who cannot see to envision a world that is free from the destruction of which too many hopelessly fall into. And it is of course a time to scream at the top of our lungs that indeed this is a year that is acceptable to the Lord. And herein lies the irony of this lesson– the seemingly hapless human being once anointed by the Lord, has the capabilities to show actions and words that have previously been only reserved for the Divine. We are if you will, ambassadors for the Lord.
So just perhaps, the once complicated doctrine that Jesus is God and at the same time a human being, is a bit more understandable. Although Jesus Christ is the purest example of this intermingling, those who choose to follow Christ very closely have also the capabilities of knowing through their experiences that there is a very human side to them and also the potential of doing some very divine things. The two wrapped into one person. In essence, as St. Athanasius stated, “God became human, so that humans could become like God.” This is our mission in life, this is our final goal, our final destination. And although we are not there yet, we know which way we must follow, we know that Christ has clearly marked out our paths. “Today, this Scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” That is, of course, if we hear it.