We are beginning a new theme. The Immersed in Christ Reflections this year will still be formation in assimilation of the five mysteries of Baptism (what Immersed in Christ and the Christian life are all about), but we are taking another approach. We are showing how, in the petitions of the Our Father, we are both asking for and committing ourselves to each of these five mysteries in turn. The theme booklet, Five Steps to the Father, explains how the first five phrases of the prayer Jesus taught us present the five phases of our growth into the “fullness of life” Jesus came to give.
The Reflection booklet, “Our Father in Heaven,” develops the first phrase, using the Mass readings for the Advent and Christmas seasons. Keep this theme in mind as you read the reflections.
This week is all about mystery: the mystery of the new identity Baptism gives us; the mystery of being real “sons and daughters of the Father” through the mystery of incorporation into Christ; through the gift of sharing, “in him,” God’s own divine life.
The readings focus us on the mystery of knowing God as only God knows himself; the mystery of sharing in God’s own act of knowing himself by sharing in God’s own life “in Christ.” And they invite us to go to the source of our human understanding and expression of this divine knowledge: the Scriptures, the word of God. St. Jerome said, “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.” We can continue: “Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of ourselves,” because, if we do not read the Bible, we really do not know clearly what we know or where it comes from. Unless we go to God’s own words, our human understanding of our faith is all secondhand. And inevitably “dumbed down.”
This week is challenging. It invites us to ask whether we really want to know God better. Whether we have experienced the mystery of this. What steps are involved in really “hearing” the Good News. Whether we really believe Christ can “make us see.” And whether we really ask him to. Whether we find our security in knowing God or in something else? Whether our religion is real.
This week’s reflections are ruled by Jesus’ prayer to the Father: “This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
This is the mystery of our life, the mystery of our religion, the mystery we proclaim and become aware of every time we pray, “Our Father, who art in heaven....”
This is the mystery of the revealed identity of God and of the identity we receive by Baptism. To enter into this first phrase of the Our Father is to enter into the first phase of our growth toward the “perfection of love” — it is to enter into awareness of our true relationship with God.
Click here to subscribe to Daily Mass Readings delivered by email.