Inviting Jesus Into Our Lives

12-18-2022Weekly ReflectionFr. Manasseh Iorchir, VC

We are in the fourth week of waiting for the coming of Jesus into our lives. But do we really know what it means for Jesus to come into our lives? Are we aware that when Jesus is allowed into our lives, He is very likely to effect significant changes that will alter the course of our lives?

Are we truly prepared to have Jesus take control of our lives, purify our thoughts, sieve even the words we speak and prompt our actions? The Readings for Liturgy afford us a glimpse into what life would look like if we allow Divine “intrusion” in our lives.

In the First Reading, even though King Ahaz refused to ask for a sign to prove God’s reliability, God Himself opted to give a sign of His faithfulness to the whole of Israel. A virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be named Emmanuel: God is with us. Israel’s covenant with God had established an eternal relationship with Him, so God would always find a way to return them to the relationship even when they willfully strayed. On this particular occasion, God revealed that He had elected to dwell among all men through the lineage of the virgin birth of a Messiah from the house of David.

The Gospel is Matthew’s preliminary account of the birth of Christ. Matthew reports that the Virgin Mary, betrothed to Joseph, was found to be with child by the power of the Holy Spirit. This must have baffled Joseph since he had no carnal knowledge of Mary, and since the idea of a woman getting pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit was alien to the understanding of at least the common people in Israel. It is logical that Joseph may have assumed that an adulterous act was the cause of the pregnancy; Deuteronomy 22:23-24 was very explicit about how to handle such a situation. Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose Mary to shame, opted to divorce her quietly. This in itself was a selfless and considerate decision. He did not seek to drag her name into disrepute; he was sensitive to her feelings and the need to preserve another’s honor. This is what happens to anyone who allows God to “invade” their life. Godliness and sensitivity to other people’s feelings becomes habitual and naturally permeates one’s actions. A person who lets Jesus into their life feels habitually attracted to goodness and finds evil intrinsically repulsive.

Matthew reports that God’s “intrusion” into Joseph’s life was taken further when, through a dream, he was instructed to take Mary as his wife in spite of her pregnancy. Joseph did as he was told when he awoke and from that moment on, the rest of his and Mary’s life was never again average, normal and comfortable because when God “invades” our lives, He incorporates us into His plan of salvation for the world. The rest of their lives were lived in conformity with the Divine Plan of Salvation.

This calls to mind the experience of the Apostles who said “yes” to Jesus and followed Him all the way. From Simon Peter to St. Paul, their lives were transformed gradually to achieve consistency with the will of Christ. Receiving Jesus into our lives has life-transforming consequences. The one who accepts Christ should be prepared to deal with a conscience that will always be appalled by sin, and to have even the seemingly ordinary aspects of our lives ordered in imitation of Christ’s virtuous example. No wonder, St. Paul, at some point, exclaimed, “I have been crucified with Christ: and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20-21)

May we willingly accept Jesus into our hearts and have our wills conformed to His.

Please be kind and may God bless you.

Fr. Manasseh