Emulating his humanity

How often have we proclaimed “I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God … and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” It is a sine qua non tenet of our faith; we believe that Jesus is fully divine and fully human. Early church fathers expended much thought and energy combating no small number of heresies concerning the dual natures of Jesus.

In Gaudium et Spes, the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1965 we read “For by His incarnation the Son of God has united Himself in some fashion with every man. He worked with human hands, He thought with a human mind, acted by human choice and loved with a human heart. Born of the Virgin Mary, He has truly been made one of us, like us in all things except sin.”

Christianity, in general, finds little difficulty in acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God, one in being with the Father, perfectly divine, all-knowing, all-seeing, with infinite love for us all. Somehow, his divinity is easy to visualize and to comprehend, even if impossible to fully understand.

It is his humanity that is much, much more difficult to fully grasp and accept. After all, we are human and as such understand the weaknesses and brokenness inherent within every human being. And it is in that familiarity with our own lives that we find ourselves struggling to understand how Jesus could truly be one of us, how he could have human weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

The Gospels are replete with examples of the goodness and godliness of Jesus, through his many healings, acts of forgiveness and compassion, his works of mercy, his knowledge of scripture, and his humble heart. It is easy to come to believe that he really couldn’t have been truly human, since he was so perfect, so good, so kind, so meek and mild. But upon closer scrutiny we can catch glimpses of the human Jesus, a Jesus with human emotions, fears, frustrations, anxiety, doubts, and even anger. We see Jesus angry at the Pharisees for the hardness of their hearts [Mk 3:5], upset and combative at the money-changers and sellers in the temple when he “made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area” [Jn 2:15]. He displayed frustration, disappointment, anxiety, and fear during his final hours in the garden of Gethsemane [Mk 14:32-42].

It is his humanity that we are called to emulate and endeavor to become, not his divinity. We can never achieve the perfection of God but we can become more Christ-like in our human character. The human Jesus can and should be our model for living. It would be hubris to believe we can ever become fully Jesus, but with great humility we can surely try.

About the author: Deacon Chuck

Deacon Chuck was ordained into the permanent diaconate on September 17, 2011, in the ministry of service to the Diocese of Reno and assigned to St. Albert the Great Catholic Community. He currently serves as the parish bulletin editor and website administrator. Deacon Chuck continues to serve the parish of Saint Albert the Great Catholic Community of the Diocese of Reno, Nevada. He is the Director of Adult Faith Formation and Homebound Ministries for the parish, conducts frequent adult faith formation workshops, and is a regular homilist. He currently serves as the bulletin editor for the parish bulletin. He writes a weekly column intended to encompass a broad landscape of thoughts and ideas on matters of theology, faith, morals, teachings of the magisterium and the Catholic Church; they are meant to illuminate, illustrate, and catechize the readers and now number more than 230 articles. His latest endeavor is "Colloqui: A journal for restless minds", a weekly journal of about 8 pages similar in content to bulletin reflections. All his reflections, homilies, commentaries, and Colloqui are posted and can be found on his website: http://deaconscorner.org. Comments are always welcome and appreciated. He is the author of two books: "The Voices of God: hearing God in the silence" which offers the reader insights into how to hear God’s voice through all of the noise that surrounds us; and "Echoes of Love: Effervescent Memories" which through a combination of prose and verse provides the reader with a wonderful journey on the way to discovering forever love. He regularly speaks to groups of all ages and size and would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group.

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