God with us
I saw in You Tube a video of a young Einstein when he was still in Elementary. It begins with their professor discussing that “God is Evil.”
P: If God created everything. Then he created evil. Which means that God is evil!
E: Excuse me, professor (raising his hand). Does cold exist?
P: What kind of question is this? Of course, it exists. Have you never been cold?
E: In fact, sir, cold does not exist. According to the laws of physics, what we consider cold is in reality the absence of heat.. Does darkness exist, professor?
P: Of course, it does!
E: You are wrong, sir. Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in reality the absence of light. Light, we can study, but not darkness. Evil does not exist. It is just like darkness and cold. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of God! This is one of the mysteries of our faith. What is incomprehensible is now comprehensible. The transcendent and distant God is not visible. From this point on God will have a human face. He will be part of our human history and belong to a human family. God will assume a name: Jesus!
St. John in the Prologue of his Gospel insists: “In the beginning was the Word.” He presupposes that this Word pre-existed before time; before everything else. The Word has an eternal quality. “All things came to be through Him.” Which means that the Word is the source, the creator, the origin, the giver of life. He is, in fact, Life itself! He is the very Light and without Him, everything will be in darkness.
Today, 2012 year ago, this Word became flesh! God became man. We can also say: Love was born today. And because of His birth, the world is no longer the same. We are no longer the same. If you allow Him also to be born in your heart, He will make a difference in your life, in your world.
To paraphrase the words of little Einstein: “Evil is the result when man does not have God’s love present in his heart.” Evil is the result of the absence of God. But if you allow Jesus to fill your heart with His love, He will fill your life with love – as well as your family, your community; our country and the world.
The question is: why is there so much evil in the world today? When evil things happen, we ask: where is God? We blame God and say: “God is under-achiever!” We don’t realize that God is also the “victim.” He is not the cause of evil. In fact, He is also “suffering with us” and sharing our pain. This God who is born today, is destined to suffer in order to right the wrong we have caused.
This Christmas, let us pray for a deeper faith in our God who became man. The God who became one of us.
Pope Benedict XVI opened last October the “Year of Faith.” Its purpose is for us to re-discover the joy of believing. The Pope has observed a “profound crisis of faith” world-wide. It may not be so evident in our context because in the Philippines faith is alive! I feel inspired by the many people who fill our churches for the Misa de Gallo. But the European situation is alarming. In the west, they even speak of a “post-christian era.” It’s the end of Christianity. Many don’t believe anymore.
Cardinal Chito Tagle, our newest cardinal, however cautioned Filipinos: “there is such a thing as Practical Atheism.” Practical Atheism is a situation in which people profess their faith in God but in their lives reflect no identification whatsoever of His teachings. In other words, there is no God in their practical life. “People attend Mass on Sunday and appear to pray devoutly yet during the week they cheat, step on others to go ahead with life and care nothing about justice or the general welfare.”
The Challenge for us are the 3 L’s: Learn, Love and Live the Faith.
1. Learn the Faith: know it, study it, read about it. Get informed. The suggested readings for this year are the Catechism of the Catholic Church published by Pope John Paul II twenty years ago. For young people, they may read the YouCat (Youth Catechism) to deepen their faith.
2. Love the Faith: celebrate it, be proud of it, profess it, not be ashamed to show it publicly.
3. Live the Faith: act on it, practice it, do it. This is the more difficult thing to do.
Faith is a living and loving relationship with God. If it has to be living, it should be taken cared of; nourish it because it needs to grow. If it has to be loving, it should strike the heart, touch your life and influence your choices.
Today, we re-kindle the light of our faith by going back to the manger. Like the Shepherds and wise men, let us kneel in contemplation of the mystery of God who became man.
Merry Christmas to everyone!