The envy of the angels

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He who was the Word became man and lived among us

Is this a good moment for humanity? A good moment for us to feel proud of what we have achieved in our world? Do spontaneous alleluias burst forth from the depths of our hearts because of what we have experienced in the flesh during this year?

As I attempt to recreate in my soul the moment in which the Word of God agreed to become man, I am overcome with joy imagining the eternal, divine Word thinking of his own Birth on this earth.

He was given the task of helping us discover the immense love of God. He would be the one to convey with his life the wonder, joy and privilege of being human. As man, he would shout out to us the blessing of living on this earth. As the seed of eternal life, he would give us the true meaning of hope. That is to say, he would makes us fruitful, capable of giving life to what is lasting, of giving life to hope.

Hope is born in the world thanks to Jesus. Expectant mothers do not wait for their babies like those individuals at the airport seating in aseptic waiting areas, counting down the minutes or the hours while they wait for their flights. The hope that Jesus, who is the Word of God pronounced in our flesh, brings is the flame that transforms itself into a roaring fire. It’s the spark that becomes light so that we may contemplate the beauty of our humanity. It’s making the roots of divinity blossom in human seed. Our hope is fruitfulness that grows day to day. Like a baby in a mother’s womb, it is a new life that transforms and reshapes the expectant mother.

Spiritual fruitfulness

Thanks to Jesus, all men and women are called to be mothers, to give birth to hope. Each one of us conceives hope when we encourage fraternity in a world which at times seems disgusted by the massive vomit of violence.

To be pregnant with hope fills us with joy and causes us many discomforts. It makes us overflow with maternal tenderness and compassion when we see the homeless living under the bridge and it creates nausea when we discover the millions of men, women and children ousted from their homes and country because of social and economic injustices. It’s a pregnancy which creates in us cravings to embrace the orphans and the needy and it causes us to become dizzy and stumble when faced with greed, racism and the many frenzied fanaticisms contaminated with death.

Jesus, by becoming one of us, makes us fruitful in lasting peace, peace that emerges from the depths of our being. The new man or woman born in our life reveal to us the greatness of our mission in this world. They show us the immeasurable love of God for us humans, even to the extreme of being born among us and as one of us. Born among us to offer forgiveness, joy and unity so that the evil one and all of his commonplace appearances in this world may be destroyed.

That is why the letter to the Hebrews says, “Surely he did not help angels but rather the descendants of Abraham; therefore, he had to become like his brothers in every way, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest before God to expiate the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:16-18)

The bold thought occurs to me that the angels are jealous of us humans, that those beautiful spiritual creatures envy us mortals. For the Word of God did not become an angel but, instead, he wanted to become one of us, one of the mortal beings on this earth.

Celebrating the Incarnation, celebrating the birth of God among us, creates in me, and I believe in many other millions in the world, what I would call childlike emotions and hopes, dreaming of unexpected gifts from God so that he alone may create ineffable wonders. At the same time, that beautiful and difficult mission to transform and change our world, creates a mature maternal fruitfulness in my heart. A fruitfulness that makes me think of the fire in Mary’s heart which made her sing of the wonders of the Almighty in every age and in all circumstances of her life, and by which she allowed herself to be proclaimed blessed by the very angels.

Congratulations to all!

This is the English translation of Bishop Elizondo's column "La envidia de los ángeles" that appeared in the December 2015 issue of NORTHWEST CATHOLIC.

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.