Sunday, May 20, 2012

Beyond Super

When I was a little girl, the first movie I saw about the life of Christ was Jesus Christ Superstar.  I  understood the crucifixion for the first time, and I was just devastated. I couldn't fathom why Jesus let them do that to Him.
     My father was just disgusted with the ending because that particular movie doesn't include the Resurrection. He tried to make sure that I understood what was missing. And I thought I did. But—as I thought it was not much different from the death of anyone else, with a far-off, eventual reunion—it wasn't much of a comfort.
     It wasn't until I was an adult that I really got it—at least the physical part. I think before that, I had a vague notion of His appearances being more like that of an apparition.
     But when the physicality of the Resurrection did really sink in, a new idea dawned on me as well. Jesus not only took on a human body at the Incarnation; not only did He experience in that body all the pain of His Passion and death that any other human would have; not only was that same body raised from the dead on Easter; but He also went to heaven in that same body—and will keep that human body for all eternity.
     As mentioned in an earlier blog, He didn't have to do it that way at all. In order to teach us, He could have just temporarily taken on a human appearance. And His Incarnation alone perhaps, or with just a paper cut—given how infinitely precious is His sacred blood—would have been enough to save us. But He lived a full human life and died a horrible death to show us the depth of His love. He resurrected His body to prove His divine identity and His victory over death.
     Then He ascended into heaven before a large group of His disciples, some of whom just before—even though they saw Him standing there—still had doubts about His Resurrection. (I'd think seeing Him ascend into heaven would wipe out those doubts.)
     But once He was back in heaven, He wouldn't need His human body anymore, would He? Yet the Church teaches that He has kept it and will keep His humanity forever.
     Wow. It's amazing enough that He took on our human condition for thirty-three years, to save us. How mind-boggling that He will retain it for ever and ever, even after that salvation has been accomplished. His condescension is incredible. 
     Lucifer evidently found it incredibly distasteful—rumor has it that he foresaw the Incarnation and that was what led to his rebellion: he couldn't stand the thought of bowing to a God who had become human. (It didn't work though. Philippians 2 tells us: "at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.")
     Luciferfull of himselfwas much more like the typical "superstar" than Jesus Christ was. 
     Jesus was far superior to any superstar. As the Word of God, He created everything and was therefore above (supra) the stars, yet He "did not deem equality with God something to be grasped, but rather emptied himself, taking on the form of a slave..." Not only that, but He took that form back up to heaven...and glorified it. (And us with Him.)

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