SIR – In a culture of ignorance or indifference to the mystery of Jesus Christ, may I suggest some reflections beginning with what some thinking and experimental people, mostly physicists in this case, have established about the creation of the universe or what they call the Big Bang of the Beginning 13.7 billion years ago, the solar system with our planet earth and others around 5 billion years ago, the first signs of primitive life on earth about 3.5 billion years ago.
Next in sequence is the astonishing news by our cell DNA scientists of our arrival only 140,000 years ago. Let us pass now from this linear or horizontal knowledge by human reasoning to the vertical knowledge of God’s communication with us and embracing knowledge of reality not confined to the limitations of time and space: the call of Abraham from the middle east to become the father of the Jewish chosen people almost 4,000 years ago, God’s inspiration of some messengers / prophets to go among the people and, from about 3,000 years ago, to begin writing the Bible; the first book, Genesis, telling of God’s act of creation in the simplest language suited to the mentality of the people of the time.
Next we come to the extraordinary assumption by God of our human flesh and blood 2,000 years ago in the person of Jesus Christ, the New Testament part of the Bible being devoted to this. Here, and as we hear at every funeral that at death life for us is changed not ended, we learn that we are to share for all eternity in the divine Trinitarian community of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in the one God, if during our earthly sojourn we use our minds and free wills for the flourishing of our families and communities and thus of ourselves.
We are all included in God’s people and no longer any chosen ones. The abuse of free will at the beginning and down the ages has disfigured the world and God could not ignore this and so Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our Redeemer and Saviour, accepted death by crucifixion, but rose from the dead three days later. At the Last Supper on the night before he died, he gave his Apostles and his Church the Eucharist, his Body and Blood, with the command ‘do this in memory of me.’
Hence all of us under the guidance of the Church are to gather in our communities every Resurrection Day, every Sunday, for this Eucharistic liturgy. As we gather this Christmas, our special prayer will surely be that all Christians may be one, and that the divisions of 500 years ago in the Protestant division of 1517 and the earlier Easter Church one of 1054 will shortly be brought to an end under the grace and enlightenment of God.
Fr Tom Kelleher,