11 December 2013

O Rex - 6th Advent Meditation

 Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

 King of the Nations, and the one they desired, keystone, who makes both peoples one, come and save mankind, whom you shaped from the mud.

Making both people one...

There is a lot of "us vs them" in the world. Admittedly Christians have often played a part in this.  However the Church Fathers kept trying to overcome this - from the time of St Paul: There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus, he says in Galatians.  Some of the Fathers go so far as to say that, in the economy of salvation, "human nature" is one - including all humans (including Christ) and that any time we speak of individuals, we are creating a false image. Neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all, says St Paul, again, this time in Colosians.

Christ is all.

So in both verses - and in our Advent verse today - the common division is Jew/Gentile. "Neither Jew nor Greek", neither "circumcision nor uncircumcision", facis utraque unum making "both one".

Many people imagine that "making both one" imagines it to mean "keeping them divided", on the one hand, or "erasing them" on the other. In the first camp - keeping them divided - are those Christians who say God is still doing something with the Jewish Covenant and we should leave them alone, not evangelize them, nor worry about them in the divine economy, together with those who, in ecumenical charity, may or may not be Christian or Jewish, but take on the "all are equally right/wrong" attitude to religion. Also in this camp are those who reject Jesus outright.

 In the other camp - the erasing them camp - are those who say becoming Christian means erasing one's selfness. If I become a Christian, I am no longer a Jew; or, we must get rid of all Jews by "making them Christians." These two sides of the same coin are missing the whole point. Christ does not erase either Humanity or God in the incarnation. Rather he makes both one in a mystical union. Likewise, he does not erase Male and female in marriage, but again, makes both one in a mystical union. Humanity becomes one in Christ without losing the distinctive features of our individual selves. We are not Buddhists: all is not erased in Christ, all is joined in a United Kingdom of the Cross.

King Christ is all.

This is why the Creed of the Church, the Symbol of the Faith, lists "oneness" as a mark of the Church: those who put themselves outside of the Faith of the Church by rejecting Christ or his teachings are breaking the oneness of humanity by creating a new "us vrs them" that is to Crucify Christ all over again.