A New World Order

Happy Birthday, Jesus! Merry Christmas to all!

I am having the privilege of participating in the epic series Catholicism Project study group at my parish. I was first exposed to the Catholicism Project when journalist Mike Leonard, co-producer of the series, spoke at the Midwest Catholic Family Conference. He gave background on the filming and showed a trailer of this series written by Father Robert Barron. The series was created for Public Broadcasting System (our public television channel) to help educate both Catholics and non-Catholics about our faith and allow us to go deeper by understanding and having a mature response to what God is saying through the important symbolism and context of the God/Man Jesus Christ and his mission.

The series so far has exceeded my originally high expectations for it. The breathtaking religious art and cinematic visits to places all over the world alone was captivating. Each week I have come away thinking about Jesus and my Catholic faith from a slightly different angle. Rooted in the truth of the times, Father Barron helps to paint a less docile and more disturbing experience of what it must have been like during the time of Christ. The founder of the Roman Catholic Church, Jesus Christ, is the only founder of any religion who claims to be both God and man and performed the miracles to back it up. It has been especially enlightening with the celebration today of Christ’s birth.

Repeatedly, Father Barron warns us to not “domesticate” Christ. Christ was a kind and an unnerving, ominous figure from the very start. What Christ did was threatened the entire world order with his teachings and his message. How many humans can claim that they were a target of murder from before their birth, to the moment they were born, to their premature death? Jesus was. He was born the king of a much needed kingdom based in love and truth. He had counter cultural ideas around non-violent resistance, looking into a person’s heart rather than judging only from the outside, the true freedom of choosing to be obedient to God’s will, and forgive those who have wronged him.

Don’t let the innocence of the Baby Jesus lull you into making Jesus that nice guy next door. He was a provocative historical and spiritual character with a world-changing mission to complete. We give thanks for the positive ways the world is different because of him. We give Jesus the respect he deserves by being docile and obedient to his commandments.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Embrace your healthy fear of God and consciously make sure you do nothing to offend him but rather show him your respect, praise, and love through how you treat the least of your brothers.