Today’s first reading helps us make a smooth transition from the Christmas season to Ordinary Time. The Letter to the Hebrews opens by recounting that God’s communication with us in the past came “in partial and various ways” through prophets; but now, “in these last days, he spoke to us through the Son.” The unmistakable point is that now, for us, there is a boldness and directness, even a clarity, as Jesus reveals his Father to us.
But who is this Son? What does it mean for God to call Jesus, “Son”? Again, the Letter could not be more direct: this Son is the one through whom all things were created, the “refulgence” of God’s glory, “the very imprint of his being.” As the gospel accounts of the Christmas season affirm in their own ways, this child, born in the flesh, is truly divine.
In its own particular way, the Letter calls us to a careful way of seeing and hearing Jesus. As one author puts it, when we observe even “the least and most human of his reactions,” we are witnessing a revelation of the Father: if we observe the humility of Jesus, we witness not a gesture enacted to make us feel comfortable with him, but rather a revelation of the humility of God himself! Here is that boldness, directness and even clarity.
The Letter challenges us regarding our own comfort with such boldness. If, for Jesus, the “least and most human of his reactions” are full of revelation, who are we to eliminate the presence of the Holy Spirit from such details of our lives? If we are humiliated in some way, do we believe that Jesus shares in that with us? If we are fatigued from life’s difficulties, do we believe that Jesus shares our limits with us? If we experience joy and delight in the simplest of human activities, do we believe Jesus shares our delight? May we be given the faith to accept such truths with boldness!
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