Advent 4, Saturday, Year A

Inspired by John 3:31-36

“The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things.  The one who comes from heaven is above all.  He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony.”  John 3:31-32 (NRSV)

From the day we were born we began experiencing this world.  We experienced both kindness and cruelty from those we encountered; we discovered that what people said and what they did were sometimes two entirely different things.  We learned that most individuals are ruled by their own self-interest, and that while the world claims to value love and kindness, it actually rewards apathy and exploitation.

All of us are of the earth, and all we know are earthly things.  Everyone we encounter, everyone we interact with, is of the earth.  But Jesus, though a human being and seemingly also of the earth, is also the Christ, the Son of God, who came from heaven above.  He has experienced the world as we have, but he has also experienced the perfection of heaven.  As the incarnate Christ, he knows the world as it is and as it could be.  And he has shared with us the fullness of God’s love and his vision of human potential.

We have trouble accepting what Jesus tells us.  Our own lived experience contradicts his assertions of unconditional love and endless mercy.  While we like the idea of a world based on justice, humility, and generosity, we also dismiss such notions as naïve and unrealistic. We know the world doesn’t really operate according to those principles, and we’re quite certain that it never will.

But heaven is the domain of the God of truth, and Christ has seen the truth.  While his words may not reflect our reality, they do reflect the ultimate reality.  God created us and the world we live in, and he knows better than we do what we are capable of.  Trust in the testimony of Christ; let his view of us begin to shape our reality.

Let us pray.  God of truth, you sent your Son to proclaim your love.  Grant us the courage to believe in his promises, that we may dare to accept your vision of who we are.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.