Monday, December 22, 2008

Originally, I was going to blog on the historical significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and it’s meaning not just for Catholics, but all Christians, all people of the Americas. But life caught up with me.

I had also promised that I would talk about the significance of the star that shown over Bethlehem, but again everyday life interrupted that thought as well.

As I reflected further on the topic of my blog, I realized what interested me most was something that encompassed both celestial stars and miraculous appearances. From here on earth, in our little corner of the universe, what strikes me is that we are important enough to warrant the ability to see stars from other galaxies as well as receive visits from heavenly guests.

For the most part, viewing stars and heavenly figures requires the human sense of sight.

We create powerful telescopes to view fiery balls in far away universes and run thousands of tests to find out more about our own sun. Scientists spend entire lifetimes dedicated to determining the future of our galaxies.

What about heavenly figures? Can we determine when they will appear? The wise men knew to follow the star, but they could not predict where it would appear or exactly where the new king would be born.

It seems that our sight is limited. Are we bound to the sense of sight or do we possess more?

We hold in the depths of our hearts a treasure that goes far beyond the physical. Truly, our spiritual soul makes us tick. While we are driven to understand the cosmic aspects of our universe, that knowledge won’t make or break us. However, failing to understand the inner workings of our souls will.

When Jesus came to earth, what did he teach? Did he spend his time discussing celestial stars and how they work? No, he was occupied with teaching us how to save our souls. He spoke truths about humanity that we still grapple with today. Time after time, he tried to explain that God’s love was more important than any physical aspect we could see, touch, feel, smell or taste with our senses.

Yet today, what makes the news… scientific findings or how many souls have been saved?

We’re still focused on the physical aspects of this universe and not the spiritual. Just last week, we heard from scientists that the earth’s magnetosphere works completely differently than they first postulated. “Scientists have found two large leaks in Earth's magnetosphere, the region around our planet that shields us from severe solar storms.”,2933,468268,00.html

Does this surprise anyone? Even when we think we know something, we don’t! In our continuous quest to be “like God”, “Masters of our own Universe”, we fail. But we keep trying.

Why don’t we put as much time into the quest of salvation as we do the quest for knowledge? We haven’t changed much from Adam and Eve, have we?

OH!!! But that is the Good News! We have. We have received salvation from a babe born in Bethlehem so long ago. This second Adam came to give us what we desire; he quenched the thirst of spiritual dehydration. And it is a condition that all humanity suffers, no matter what mouths profess.

It comes down to this: the ability to believe.

What will you believe? Will you believe in scientists whose findings constantly change or will you believe in the spiritual force that drives every human being? Will you be viewing life from a telescope? Or will you be viewing life from the depths of your soul?

Merry Christmas!

(The picture above is a NASA photo of solar flare taken by the TRACE space probe in 2005. But I prefer to think of it as my soul on fire for the Lord!)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Burden of Divine DNA

"…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)

We read this story every Christmas. In our faith, we know that Jesus came down from heaven and became human for our sake. So who were Jesus' parents?

Our Christian faith tells us that Jesus had a human mother, a virgin named Mary. Luke tells us this in his story of when the angel, Gabriel visited Mary. In Hebrew tradition, when the Old Testament uses this terminology, the author refers to a man and woman coming together to produce a child.

Here we see that Luke says that Jesus' father is indeed our "Most High". In essence, this means that the two parents of Jesus were Mary, his human mother, and God, His Heavenly Father.

The implications of this for DNA are very interesting. As humans, in our human nature, we know there are imperfections with regard to our DNA. But with the "DNA of God", there would be no imperfections, if indeed there were such a thing. In studying biochemistry, we learn that a child’s DNA comes from both the mother and the father. Did Jesus have Mary’s DNA only, or was half his set divine DNA?

Once we ask this question, many more come to mind. If Jesus did indeed have a divine DNA piece, is this DNA in fact what allowed him to see things from his Father’s point of view? Is this why he was able to readily perform miracles and read people’s souls? Do we consider the distress Jesus’ soul felt constantly saying no to sin in his humanness?

Can you imagine the torment you would have knowing that you are contained in a human body and feel all the pain, the mental and physical suffering, yet you do not take yourself down from the cross? You allow the human side of you to face the anguish of knowing that your body will die and it doesn’t have to. That is truly what it means to do the will of the Father…to deny yourself and instead life yourself up as a sacrifice for the salvation of human souls. It was a decision Jesus made.

Jesus Christ took on the form of a human being. He constrained himself to the human form and all its limitations. He knew before he said “yes” to the Father, what his humanness would entail and yet Jesus still took on the weight of our sins.

I discovered the following link while I was researching something else. It is an interested treatise on Mary’s role in Jesus’ life. I hope you’ll find it compelling as well.

Next week, I’ll touch on the subject of the star above Bethlehem and the meaning of the angels singing at the birth of the Savior.