A Child Comes To Judge
And the angel said to them, "...And this will be a sign for you; you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." -St. Luke 2:10, 12
And Jesus answered them, "...[T]hey will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from one end of heaven to the other." -St. Matthew 24:4, 30-31
Jesus said to him, "...But I tell you, hereafter you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." -St. Matthew 26:64
And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." -St. Mark 14:62
"The Father judges no one, but has given all judgement to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." -St. John 5:22-23
"For...the Father...has given him authority to execute judgement, because he is the Son of man." -St. John 5:26, 27
"...[A]s I hear, I judge; and my judgement is just, because I seek not my own will, but the will of him who sent me." -St. John 5:30
"He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day." -St. John 12:48
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. -Revelation 1:17a
Christ comes as an infant.
The Light of the World is born in the dark of a night.
The Word of God is speechless.
The Creator depends upon His creatures.
Nothing will ever be the same.
It is so easy to think of Jesus as a baby. The warmth and joy of a baby are experiences, which are familiar to all of us. That warmth and joy accompanies the birth of every child, but the birth of the Messiah brings a joy beyond all joy. After all, this birth brings with it our salvation, if we accept it. While we romanticize the Nativity with crèches and cards, the reality is slightly more harsh. It was night and cold. He was lying in a trough in a cave hewn out of rock for the sheltering of livestock and filled with the odors of animals. Bethlehem was packed with people there to register for the census and, though God and heralded by angels, he was unattended except by His Virgin Mother and St. Joseph. Poor shepherds took a few moments away from their sheep to follow the instructions of the angel and found a man, a woman, and a baby spending the night in a manger. What were their thoughts? What did they feel? Did seeing the Christ Child stir something in their hearts or did they rely on the words of the angel?
What are we thinking with this tableau in our minds? Do we truly believe that God became Man, that the Second Person of the Trinity has taken on a human nature simply to save us?
If we do, on whose authority do we believe? Sacred Scripture? The Church? A documentary?
The coming of Jesus as a baby at Christmas, however, foreshadows His coming as the Judge of His creation. This image is not so comforting. It is, in fact, terrifying. How do we feel thinking of Christ coming on the clouds at the right hand of Power? Do we truly believe that Christ will judge us? Do we ever really give it a thought?
Honestly, do we love Him? Do we know Him well enough to love Him? Are we all about the Christmas kitsch, the little baby, so safe and harmless, and ignore the Judge? Do we recognize only His first coming and ignore the second, thinking that the baby will be the one to judge us?
Christ comes both times, however, out of the deepest, most profound love, a love He has for each of us, a love we cannot ever grasp. As Savior, He loves us to death, His death. As Judge, He loves us to life, our eternal life. We must understand that God is love and everything He does, He does out of love. Everything.
Jesus Christ loves us. He truly does. He came as a baby, though, so we would not be afraid to know and love Him. Jesus wants us to love Him. We want to be loved. We feel that emptiness in our hearts and in our lives. We want to be loved passionately and completely and we want to love someone with everything we have. Only Christ can love and be loved that way. Allow Christ to love you and love Him in return.
Spend these next eight days of Advent reading a Gospel from beginning to end as many times as you can and begin to know Jesus. After all, we're going to be meeting Him soon.
O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.