Seeing the Face of Christ at Christmas | Bill Maguire | Catholic World Report
Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body helps us recognize the true presence of Christ in those around us.
There was a blind man named Bartimaeus who called out to Jesus: “Son of David, have pity of me” (Mk 10:46-52). In answer to his plea, Jesus responds in the most remarkable way, “What do you want me to do for you?” In order to get some sense of just how remarkable Jesus’ response is, we must pause for a moment and consider who Jesus is: he is the all-mighty, all-powerful, eternal Son of God. Jesus’ words, then, are the words of the Word of God.
The Gospels are no mere recollection of Jesus’ words and deeds. Rather, as writings inspired by the Holy Spirit, they have a power that cannot be found in any other form of literature: namely, the power to re-call and make present to us Jesus’ words and deeds. Read prayerfully, in the Spirit, the Gospels place us in the real presence of Jesus Christ and offer us the opportunity to truly encounter him. Thus, it is not only to Bartimaeus but to us that Jesus asks: “What do you want me to do for you?” God, himself, is asking us what we want him to do for us.
Bartimaeus’ desire—“I want to see”—is one that Christians feel with particular intensity during the Christmas season. We are all touched with the deep desire to have been there, to have seen this remarkable child born to Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem. Yet, have we taken the time to consider exactly what we would have seen had we been there on that first Christmas?
Would we have seen just one more example of what is an all too familiar scene: a poor couple bringing yet another child into the seeming endless cycle of misery and poverty? Would their example have inspired in us that brand of “compassion” which promotes, as a solution to poverty, education in reproductive rights for women and the widespread availability of contraception and abortion? Would we have been moved with such pity for Jesus that we would take steps to ensure that no more children like him would come into the world? Or would we have recognized, like Simeon and Ann later would, the face of God in this child? And, in seeing the face of God in the countenance of a human child, would we have seen the great dignity and worth of all human persons?