Christmas Time Jan. 3, 2024 at Mississippi Abbey
The meaning of words and phrases is not always obvious. My father liked to watch prizefights on television. One day he told me that one of the boxers had a “glass jaw.” I never heard the expression before so I took it literally and said, “If he has a glass jaw why do they let him fight?” He laughed and replied, “It means he can’t tolerate a hard punch on his chin.” It’s American slang for someone who can be easily knocked out.
In today’s first reading St. John writes, “Beloved, we are God’s children now.” What does that mean? It seems obvious. God is our Father because he made us. But that makes God our Creator and we are his creatures. it doesn’t make us God’s children because children share the same nature as their parents. God is divine and we are not divine by creation but human.
To be a child of God is something much greater. St. John writes, “To all who received him he gave power to become children of God.” We don’t become children of God by birth, but by baptism. To be a child of God means we “become partakers of his divine nature.” That is infinitely greater than our created human nature. Only those who are divinized by the Holy Spirit in baptism, who now share God’s nature, will be able to see God and enjoy the powers and happiness of God. That’s what it means to be children of God. Whenever I think of it I practically “go bananas” with excitement, with the certain hope that we will be like Jesus in the kingdom of heaven, both human and divine.