The Lowliness of Human Flesh

Our Advent Preface says the Son of God assumed “the lowliness of human flesh” when he came among us, and so fulfilled the divine plan formed long ago.

How long ago? God plans are from all eternity, we believe. Our lowly “human flesh” finds it hard to discover God’s plan in time. 

In today’s gospel John the Baptist asks Jesus through his emissaries: “Are you he who is to come, or are we to look for another?” John was not altogether sure, some say. Jesus appeals to the Prophet Isaiah: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.  And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Luke 7:18-23)

In yesterday’s gospel the chief priests and leaders of the people are certainly not sure about Jesus and his authority. They hesitate about John too, but they’re afraid of the people. (Matthew 21: 23- 27) Before them, Ahaz, King of Judea, was not persuaded by the Prophet Isaiah and will not ask for a sign.

“Human flesh” finds it hard to discover God’s plan in time, our readings this week of Advent say.

The Advent liturgy proclaims the coming of Jesus Christ in the fullness of time. It measures time from the prophets and the history of Israel, which traces its beginnings to the Book of Genesis. The genealogy of Jesus will be proclaimed in our liturgy this Friday. 

Until recent times, the biblical timetable was the accepted norm in the western world for measuring geological history, even science accepted it. Now we have “Deep Time.” Science sees the world evolving over billions of years. 

It seems to me we have a task before us reconciling biblical time and “Deep Time.” Lowly human flesh finds it hard to discover God’s plan in time.

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