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The Power of God: Weekly Message for 12-13-2022
Dear Friends in Christ,
The Communist Manifesto makes this rather sweeping claim: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of… oppressor and oppressed.”
In other words, raw, abusive, oppressive power is at the heart of reality. And the Devil is, in some sense, the first Marxist. In the Garden of Eden, he insinuates to Adam and Eve that God is a power-monger who desires, not their freedom, but their slavery. “If you really want to be like God,” he purrs, “reach out and seize power. Play that game and you will grasp divinity.” They did, and we all know how that decision turned out for them… and for us.
The oppressor/oppressed interpretation of God and his creation is what we might expect from Satan, who is, after all, the Father of Lies. But it is emphatically not how God acts; in fact, the Lord enters human history in the most unlikely way at Bethlehem. He is omnipotent, but he is born utterly vulnerable. The baby Jesus is a shocking reminder that God’s ways are not our ways, and that his power is not the power of this world.
Karl Marx’s solution to oppression and injustice was more oppression and injustice. God’s solution to evil is a different sort of power: an apparently weak divine strength that refuses to play power games, and instead cuts straight to the human heart.
Each Christmas is an invitation to ponder the mysterious ways of God, whose weakness is greater than human strength (1 Corinthians 1:25). Each Christmas is an invitation to renew our trust in the one whose apparently feeble light illuminates the world.
And each Christmas is an invitation to let Christ’s heart speak to ours, so that we, too, may know the joy of his coming in the power and the glory of God.
Fr. John Pietropaoli