Friday, December 31, 2010

Pitching His Tent

The so-called "Prologue" of John's Gospel tells the story of the Incarnation in a very different manner. No angels, shepherds, magi, nor even Mary and Joseph. After establishing the second person of the Trinity as "The Word", John states the profound reality that "the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us". The original Greek language of verse 14 (Καὶ λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο καὶ ἐσκήνωσεν ἐν ἡμῖν) is more correctly translated to read "And the word became flesh and pitched his tent among us".
I love this image, especially considering the nomadic history of the chosen people. To pitch a tent with others implies that the person is ready to live as they do, depending on one another for the basic necessities of life. And this is exactly what God did. Jesus become totally dependent on others, at first Mary and Joseph, and then later His friends and disciples.
Just as Jesus was dependent on others for the daily necessities as He walked the earth, so too the Word needs us to provide the  means by which He interacts with people today. As we approach the conclusion our Christmas Octave and also the conclusion of another calendar year, I offer you this beautiful passage by St. Teresa of Avila (1515–1582).
Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.
 I pray that these words will guide us as we work to bring The Word to those we meet during the new year.

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