Homily for Sunday, August 24, 2014

Readings for Today

In theological studies, the issue of the person of Jesus has gathered a lot of attention.  The name of studying what it means to be the Christ is called Christology.  From the earliest days of the Church, the question of what it means to be the Christ, and who the person of Jesus is, and how the divinity and humanity interact in the one person of Jesus has been a question gathering a lot of debate.  And understandably, when trying to understand the Incarnation, it is understandable this type of study is difficult indeed.

Most of the time, either the humanity or divinity of Jesus gets too much emphasis.  We can try to make Jesus out to be basically a slightly better version of a human being, or, we can try to make Jesus so divine as to eliminate his being human in any meaningful way.  How is it then, that we seek to understand Jesus, and how would we answer the question Jesus poses to the disciples today?  Who do we say that Jesus is?

The answer to this question is not at all easy.  The long list of wrong answers provides proof.  It is very difficult to understand how divine and human natures can co-exist in one person.  There were those who said that the humanity of Jesus was a façade, or that Jesus only appeared to be human.  Some who believe this describe Jesus as really laughing above the cross during the crucifixion since he was not really on the cross.  Others saw Jesus as a human who was “adopted” by God as his son, and was not really truly divine.

Today we struggle, I think, with the same problems.  Because the answer to the question not only applies to Jesus, but says something about how we understand what it means to be human.  Are humans essentially good, or basically completely (or almost completely) flawed?  And since we believe Jesus was like us in all things but sin, what effect does sin have on human beings?

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