Jesus Had 2 Natures, So Do We
One of the elements of history I love to teach best is the story of the Copernican Revolution. I taught it the other night in Confirmation. Something that you and I learn before Kindergarten was so revolutionary it took two hundred years to fully absorb it. The Earth revolved around the sun/the sun did not revolve around the Earth.
Similarly, in today’s second reading we can see something that is also Earth-shattering and if I do my homily correctly, you will have a whole new understanding of who you are.
Let’s look at this.
The second reading is from Hebrews which is written by an unknown author to what we would call today Messianic Jews. They are Jews who believe in Jesus. The author explains who Jesus is and he uses this phrase which I am sure you heard all your life. Jesus is a man like us in all things but sin.
Now here we get into the tricky part. One of the most powerful theological fights about Jesus is over his nature. In fact, some of those fighting the Church teach Jesus was the way, the truth, and the life. That is incorrect. Jesus was a carpenter, Jesus is the way the truth and the life. So, you can see even today disputes of who Jesus is rage on.
Jesus has two natures. He has a human nature and a divine nature. Jesus is fully human and fully divine. So, if he is one like us in all things but sin, and he has two natures then so must we. We have body and soul.
Jesus’ human nature unites with his divine nature but it also is subservient to his divine nature. So, notice that throughout the gospels Jesus talks about being obedient to the Father. His human will is obedient to his divine will which is united to the father.
We are not there. In Heaven, we will be there. However, in the meantime, we are still body and soul and we seek to learn the wisdom of God through our prayer and by growing more united with God. We make our body subservient to the higher desires of the soul. If you understand that paragraph, you understand how to live Christianity. Let me repeat it. we seek to learn the wisdom of God through our prayer and by growing more united with God. We make our body subservient to the higher desires of the soul. Sin is not doing something bad, it is separating our human will from the call of divine will so we do what we want to do even though God does not want us to do it. The reverse is then to do what God wants us to do even though others may reject it.
This is the key to all we do. We seek the divine will through learning and embracing divine wisdom and then we seek to subvert our human will to the wisdom of the divine.
Jesus gives us a powerful example of how to do it.
Jesus was subject to temptation but he never sinned. He did not sin when he tipped over tables, when he was rude, when he let John rest his head on his chest, when he called Judas out on his betrayal, when he healed on the Sabbath, when he refused to answer Herod and when he stood up to Pilate. He never sinned.
The reason why he never sinned is his human will was totally obedient to his divine will. So, he listened to and did whatever the Father told him, even if he disagreed by the way. Remember, he asked that the father find another way to lead us to salvation so he did not have to suffer the pains of the cross. Ultimately, he submitted to His will, albeit reluctantly.
So, he showed total obedience to the father. However, the Father is the source of all being, He is truth, He is goodness, He is life, He is love. So, Jesus is obedient to all these things and makes his human will obedient to his divine will.
Our role is to grow in wisdom by growing closer to God through his Son Jesus Christ and then being obedient to that wisdom of the Father in all we do. It is a lifetime of effort and will not be complete until we are united with God in Heaven. It cannot be done without prayer and relying on intervention from the saints and angels.
However, and this is the key element here. Our role is not to be good, or nice, or virtuous, or comforting. Our role is to be obedient to the Father who is goodness, who is virtue, etc.
This means we must not focus on what we do, we must focus on what God wants us to do because that is what Jesus did. He did not focus on being a nice guy and by the way, he was not. The pharisees hated him. He challenged them in ways that they rejected.
He focused on doing the Father’s will.
If we are truly called to be the Catholics then our focus must not be on being nice to everyone and being model citizens, our role must be on doing God’s will and we cannot do that if we do not understand it and we cannot do that if we do not subvert our will to God’s will.
Remember, this is what Jesus did and if he is a man like us in all things but sin then although we sin when we fall into temptation, we learn how to resist temptation more and more and therefore we sin less and fall less to temptation. However, our mission is not to be resistant to temptation as much as it is to do God’s will. In order to do God’s will, we learn to be resistant to temptation. It is through temptation that we learn how to do God’s will by learning what to reject.
It is not God’s will that I commit this sin, so I must refrain. It is God’s will that I act according to his wisdom so I must act in that way.
Therefore, if we are to be like Jesus, we must grow to a deeper understanding of what God’s will is and act upon it. Even if this contradicts the customary understanding of Christianity. We do not follow rules we obey the wisdom of God.
Now we all know that our world is falling into division. This is especially true in our country. Why? Because we have divorced our human will from our quest to being subservient to God’s will this is from top to bottom. The most extreme forms of this are found in things like atheistic governmental systems worldwide.
So, our leaders are doing what either they think is right or what they think is right for them. Meanwhile, they actively reject Christianity. However, what form of Christianity are they rejecting? I am not talking Catholic vs Protestant or Evangelical. I am talking representations of Jesus. If we seek to be whom Christ called us to be at our baptism then we must grow in wisdom and make our human wills subservient to that divinely rooted wisdom. That means we must live and make a community that is living the divine will of the Father as best they can. If we do it right then we live a revolution of faith in the world. We will live as Christ called us to be which will shatter customary understandings of Jesus in the world.
We are not called to just be good Catholics, we have a calling as Catholics and other Christians to make our will subject to the wisdom of God. That is the call of the prophet. We have a call to be prophets and we cannot be prophets if we do not subject our human will to divine will. If we are prophets by subjecting our human will to the divine we will shake up our world and even our church.
If we embrace the customary understanding of Jesus then we will be invited to parties, will receive the key to the city and we will make people rich and happy, none of which Jesus did.
However, if we truly are doing the will of God and acting in His wisdom the world will hate us even more than it already does. But in the end, the world will realize that we were right all along because we were doing God’s will not our own.
So, today, understand who you are. As human beings you have two natures body and soul. We have a mission to grow in wisdom so that we unite our human will to divine will through our soul. It takes a lifetime to learn how to do that and prayer is essential. When we do that we are truly learning to be Catholics in the world. If we are true Catholics then we are true prophets.