Franciscan Spirit Blog

Advent with Richard Rohr: Tuesday of the First Week

No one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. —Luke 10:22

The Second Coming of Christ that history is waiting for is not the same as the baby Jesus or even the historical Jesus. The historical Jesus was one man, and Christ is not his last name. The Christ includes the whole sweep of creation and history joined with him—and you too. We call this the Cosmic Christ. We ourselves are a member of the Body of Christ and the Cosmic Christ, even though we are not the historical Jesus. So we very rightly believe in “Jesus Christ,” and both words are essential.

The celebration of Christmas is not a sentimental waiting for a baby to be born, but much more an asking for history to be born! (see Romans 8:20–23). We do the Gospel no favor when we make Jesus, the Eternal Christ, into a perpetual baby, a baby able to ask little or no adult response from us. One even wonders what the mind is that would keep Jesus a baby. Maybe it was “baby Christianity.”

We might cuddle or coo with a baby, but any spirituality that makes too much of the baby Jesus is perhaps not yet ready for prime-time life. God clearly wants friends, partners and images, if we are to believe the biblical texts. God, it seems, wants adult religion and a mature, free response from us. God loves us as adult partners, with mutual give and take, and you eventually become the God that you love. Take that as an absolute.

I understand where such devotions to the Infant of this or that, the Santo Niño of here or there, came from; but these do not come close to the power of the biblical proclamation that clearly invites us into adult “cooperation” (Romans 8:28), free “participation” (Philippians 3:10) and the love of free and mature persons in God (Ephesians 4:13). You can apparently trust yourself that much because God has done it first and foremost. The Christ we are asking for and waiting for includes your own full birth and the further birth of history and creation. Now you can say “Come, Christ Jesus” with a whole new understanding and a deliberate passion!


What perceptions of Jesus and Christ do you have that need to be changed?

Advent with Richard Rohr

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