It is God’s great desire to be among his people and to see not only that they are shepherded rightly but that he himself be the good shepherd, who is among them, attentive, walking with them in justice and mercy. Here God rules his people as the good shepherd. In his kingly freedom, God has the power and authority to choose a people and to form them, but his care remains limited until he sends his Son. In the Incarnation, God no longer contents himself with intervening from heaven on the side of the poor: he crosses over to him as a man. In the Incarnation God enters into human fellowship. In the process, he shows himself the divine ground and origin of all fellowship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In the Incarnation, the foundation of all reality is shown to be Trinitarian love. God can address the individual human person as a “Thou” because he already has a “Thou” in himself. Because he is a Trinity of Persons, God can be among his people in the most intimate manner conceivable while remaining sovereign Lord of the universe.
Jesus, fulfilling his Father’s will, goes about his life on earth, moving toward death, unwaveringly faithful to his commitment to serve rather than to be served, and to give his life as a ransom for all; succeeding indeed in pouring out his blood for the new covenant for all. This gift changes everything, for from now on, every one of our fellow-human beings, whatever their relation to us, whether friend or enemy, is in the words of St. Paul, ‘the brother for whom Christ has died’ and, from now on, whoever sins against his brother or sister sins against Christ. Because God’s chosen and beloved only Son has borne the guilt of every human being and has died for them, he can identify himself with every human being. And when he comes as King in his glory at the last judgment, he has the authority to say, “Whatever you have done to one of the least of my sisters or brothers, you have to me.
Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from a Homily by Father Timothy.