Over the past few weeks I have had many opportunities to reflect. I joined our parish’s choir during Advent and spent the moments from Advent until now (the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time*) contemplating the humanity of Jesus. What I connect with the most with Jesus is his humanity-the mere fact that Jesus was like me. Father James Martin, SJ (2014) writes in the introduction of his book Jesus : A Pilgrimage:
Jesus had a body like yours and mine, which means he ate, drank, and slept. He experienced longings and urges. The adult Jesus felt joy and sadness, laughing at things that struck him as funny and weeping at times of loss. As a fully human being with fully human emotions, he felt both frustration and enthusiasm . He grew weary at the end of a long day and fell ill from time to time. He pulled muscles, felt sick to his stomach, and maybe sprained an ankle or two. Like all of us, he sweated and sneezed and scratch.
Jesus had a body much like ours. When I think of Jesus’s humanity I am humbled. He was fully divine and yet, came down from Heaven to be a man with a full human body just like us. I find a lot of comfort in knowing that Jesus was born into a low economic status and he was a blue collared worker. As a low-income individual, money is often tight for me. I connect to the words of many songs that remind us that Jesus never asked us to be rich.
Christmas always makes me nervous because there are always a lot of parties in which I have to bring food or wine, presents that need to be purchased and sent to my family, and events in which I am asked to donate money or food. I live on a pretty tight budget and every purchase is budgeted and weighed. Needless to say extra spending at Christmas always manages to put me into a panic. However, miraculously, time after time , month after month, I make it through. God has reminded me throughout the years that I do not have to worry because even the sparrows are tended after.
At Advent, the choir sang, “In the Mid Bleak Winter” written by Christina Rossetti. The first line of the final stanza/verse states, “What can I give Him, poor as I am?” and the answer in the final line states,”Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.” While singing these lines, I felt this tremendous satisfaction in knowing that I do not have to bring anything with me in order to spend time in God’s presence. During times when I do not have extra money to give to the poor, to help others in need, or to support the Church, I try to give my time and talent. If you think of how he called the twelve, it was really quite simple. All he said was, “come follow me.” He did not say, “hey, Peter, James, Matthew, John… do you guys have a resume on LinkedIn? I’d like a copy of your credit score, too. “ When Mary and Martha invited Jesus over for dinner, he emphasized that he just wanted to sit and fellowship with the two sisters. He did not ask for perfection or status or wealth. In fact, Jesus spoke out to the multitudes, address his praise for, in Matthew 5:3 “the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” I do not have much in the bank, but what I have with Jesus is far greater than any riches on Earth.
Martin, J. (2014). Jesus: A pilgrimage (First edition.). HarperOne.
*All scriptures are taken from The Catholic Study Bible New American Bible Revised Edition.
*Ordinary Time refers to the Liturgical season that is outside of the seasons of Lent, Easter, Advent, and Christmas. It is called “ordinary” as it is not “seasonal.