At the beginning of the Gospel according to John, we read that,
He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.
His own people. That phrase has quite the resonance. We are too good at deciding who are our people, and who are not. And beware those who are not; because we will have you removed, one way or another, to make way for those who are our own people.
The danger is, of course, that it is Christ we are excising from our own, from our lives, from our world, condemning him to die, as though he were not one of us.
He who became one of us. He through whom each one of us came into being. We are his own, and his own people did not accept him.
Bishop Augustine, from whom we read on Wednesday, and last night, advises that
Most of the time, when you think you are hating your enemy, you are hating your brother without knowing it.
Our brother, or our King.
“He was in the world, and the world came into being through him,”
Yet he placed himself at our mercy. For the sins of the whole world – his own people, every last one of them, of us – he would suffer and die before he would deny any of us.
He has placed himself at our mercy, so that we might know the depth, and height, and breadth of his own.
My God! What love is this
behind the nails, persisting still,
faithful against all provocation,
loving against all odds.