“FOR JOY THAT A MAN IS BORN”
Saint John 16. 16-23
JUBILATE: 11 May Anno Domini 2014
Fr. J. William Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
No weeping occurred in Paradise. After the choice (that’s what ‘decision’ theology does for one) to pursue self and ego rather than continue in Holy Spirit guided fear, love and trust in God above all things—after the choice to eat the forbidden fruit and join the dragon—there was nothing but weeping. You know that; you experience that daily.
Adam and his helpmate hitherto had seen The Lord and had walked with Him in the “garden” (but not in a sappy & sentimental way; in a full communion way). After their rebellion the words were true “ye shall not see Me.” The curse was on the ground, on the serpent, and on the beatific vision of God…sight of The Lord and intimate table fellowship would now be through God’s appointed and distributed “means of Grace” and not just a daily natural and accepted “present.” Eden is no more.
But God is Grace and Love and Mercy and Forgiveness. God is Sacrificial Work and Righteousness—the Right Works from The Right God/Man buying back and restoring rebellious Adam and all His rebellious children marked by The Lord from eternity for Salvation.
The curse of not “seeing God” would be but for “a little while.” God would come to His children through His Word. This Word would be with Enoch causing the proto-translated one to walk with The Lord. The Word would be with Noah causing God’s righteousness to protect Noah and his family. The Word would call Abram from Ur and planet him, like a proto and typological Israel into the midst of God’s designated land of promise. The Word, as the pre-incarnate Christ, would speak to Moses from the bush which burned but would not be burnt—typological says Johann Gerhard, Saints Jerome, Augustine and most of the Church prior to the 20th century, of the Virginity of The Virgin which would bear fruit without losing virginity. The Lord would allow His people to always have His omnipresent “presence” to be sure…God is always guarding and protecting both with His own care and the care of His good Angelic watchers. But God would also allow his grieving and weeping Saints to “see Me…in a little while.” The Word was given, protected, and shared by the Patriarchs, Prophets, and good kings. Wherever the Word is + Baptized, spoken in authoritative and designated + deputized absolving, proclaimed in called & ordained Preaching, and distributed in mandated and Holy instituted Sacramental eating and drinking, there, for “a little while, and ye shall see Me, because I go to The Father.” That’s what the Ascension to the right hand of God means for the Christ…that you do truly and actually see Him, by Faith, in His Word and in His Eucharist.
There was another curse that was “decided for” by those first two enthusiastic “schwermerai” in their attempt to murder their loving Father. The curse of individual, “on my own,” prodigal, MY WAY! The woman was self-cursed with a rebellious and domineering will to control her husband. Of course the husband too was cursed with the same cussed and selfish will to abuse, misuse, demean, and control his wife. This is why Saint Paul uses a double exhortation to the Corinthians when he explains that true Scriptural marriage is but an Icon of the perfect marriage between Christ the Groom and His spotless Bride the Church.
The woman was cursed to want things her own way and to carry within her own gift of reproduction and life, a very painful terminus. To go into labor and deliver a baby would be painful—filled with tears, sweat, blood, noise…and frankly, not very pretty.
Childbirth too is typological in a Divine mysterious way of the Cross of Our Lord and His deliverance of you from the curse of death for by His own suffering and death amidst sweat, tears, blood, and cursing of surrounding pagans. It was not very pretty, but it was Good beyond all understanding.
When Eve, through her pain and difficulties gave birth to her first-born son Cain, she thought she had delivered the promised Savior “I have gotten a Man by the Lord.” But no, Cain was not to be the Messiah; it would be slain Abel, murdered Shepherd, and blood-spurting sacrificial lesser brother, who would be Christ’s heir in the flesh. The good news is always saturated in blood and sacrifice.
But Eve was right in one sense…it would be by birth, by motherhood, by a flesh and blood boy-child, that she and all of God’s wayward Israelites would be redeemed. Every faithful woman in Adam’s line, in Abel’s lineage, carried on the function of proto-mother, typological mother until the fullness of the ages arrived in Bethlehem.
Your works and deeds do not and cannot save you or bring you God. You can’t see Him by your efforts. No woman becomes a mother by herself. In fact the curse of barrenness, a result of a sin filled and ravaged world, allows God’s Grace and Life Giving to pour out in fecundity and perfect fertileness. Every birth IS a miracle; those aren’t just pious sounding sentiments. It isn’t biology it’s GRACE!
Sarai was barren. It was The Lord Who opened Sarah’s womb to bring forth a man-child. Rebecca was barren. It was God who drew life from her womb. Rachel bore no boys until the Lord’s Grace overshadowed her. Samson’s mother too was cursed with infertility until the Angel of The Lord gave her, her own annunciation. The same curse befell Hannah. The Lord of Life opened her dark sepulchre of death to make it a portal, a font of life with the birth of the great Prophet, Priest, and King St. Samuel—another type of The Messiah. These five mothers, following your first Mother, Saint Eve, make the six mothers of waiting, of suffering, of cursed Law, and of anticipation until the Theotokos, the Mother of God, would be selected and chosen, BY GOD, to bring forth The SEED, The CHRIST! The Sabbath Mother, the mother of rest, that is, of The One, The God/Man Who would bring you all rest, and peace, and life, was not just barren, but was VIRGIN. Saint Mary of Nazareth is your Mother too for she symbolizes the Church of Grace and the Church members who receive Christ her Son, by pure passive and receptive Grace. The Blessed Virgin, the Mother par-excellent, points you this morning not to herself, or even to the woman who gave you physical birth, but to the 8-sided font which is the Eternal and Eternity-producing Womb which birthed you out of the Blood and Water of the God/Man Christ Jesus. She says: “whatsoever He saith unto you, do it;” i.e. repent and believe!
Join Mary, and Peter, and Paul, and all those Seraphs and Archangels this happy morn: JUBILATE (make a joyful noise). Your sorrow is turned into joy in Christ Who is here in His Word. And in “a little while”…you will assemble at His throne to eat and drink and See your Lord and your God.
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost