"He did not enter but bent down to peer in, and saw the wrappings lying on the ground." —John 20:5
Many see Christianity as wrappings of doctrines and customs which have had some past association with Jesus. They used to contain Jesus; now they lie as mere vestiges of the past, but we wonder what was the reality these wrappings once contained. The Lord wants us to have a personal relationship with Him, to receive the Christmas present and not just see the wrappings. Christianity is not an antique that vaguely connects us with the past; rather, it is a present living relationship.
"This is what we proclaim to you: what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and our hands have touched — we speak of the Word of life" (1 Jn 1:1). "What we have seen and heard we proclaim in turn to you so that you may share life with us" (1 Jn 1:3). The Lord wants to share with us the life of His risen Body. We can't have a personal relationship with wrappings and shrouds for the dead. However, like Mary we can embrace Jesus' risen Body (Jn 20:17).
This Christmas, don't be so concerned about the wrappings but the reality. Sure, many religious customs remind us Christ was here. However, we must focus on the personal relationship that proclaims from the mountains Christ is here, Emmanuel, "God is with us" (see Mt 1:23). Jesus became man so we could relate to a Human Being and Person and not be left peering at the old wrappings.
Prayer: Jesus, give me and develop in me a real, living, personal relationship with You.
Promise: "Indeed, our purpose in writing you this is that our joy may be complete." —1 Jn 1:4
Praise: St. John's love for Christ overtook fear (1 Jn 4:18) as he received the grace to stand at the foot of the cross and was able to share in the Good News of Jesus' resurrection.
Rescript: †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 19, 2005
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