Gaze that brings life and makes holy
God’s gaze is on the lowly. He wants to turn slaves into adopted children. But how do those favored with God’s glance prove themselves?
Possessing a penetrating gaze, God bypasses someone with an impressive appearance. He takes from the pasture the youngest, the last, of Jesse’s sons and chooses him to be Israel’s leader.
The chosen does not always behave according to the Chooser’s gaze. But in spite of his transgressions, or precisely because of them, David continues to trust in God’s mercy and forgiveness. Humble, he knows how to attribute success to God’s right hand and the light of his face.
God fixes his gaze on Mary; he chooses her to be Jesus’ mother. Very grateful, she exclaims, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord … for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.” She becomes more humble than ever, more dedicated to solidarity, prayer and reflection.
God takes notice of Joseph and chooses him to be foster father to his Son. The righteous man who walks humbly with his God, in turn, becomes more obedient to divine instructions, more intuitive.
God directs his gaze on lowly shepherds so that they may be the first, after Mary and Joseph, to know about Jesus’ birth. Although distrusted by high society, they are, nevertheless, entrusted with the Good News.
And the shepherds, for their part, go in haste to see the child about whom they have received signs. On seeing him, they share in an amazing way the announcement they have received. Then, they return “glorifying and praising God” for the blessing received through the High Priest who is superior to Aaron.
All this makes clear that those blessed with God’s gaze show the authenticity of their grateful response by praising him more and more, by proclaiming his wondrous deeds, and by becoming more humble, more committed to solidarity, “more merciful with others.” Thus should we prove ourselves, for God is in love, too, with our littleness.
If we really want to give genuine witness that Jesus fixes his gaze on us, that his name is invoked upon us, that we have his Spirit that makes us cry out, “Father,” we will turn our gaze on the above-mentioned exemplary models. They teach how to see, with the light of faith, Jesus’ radiant face in the faces of the poor (cf. SV.FR XI:32).
We will follow, above all, the example of the one who hands himself over totally for sinners, for the last, the least, the lowliest. Ours will be Jesus’ uplifting gaze, and not the humiliating stare of those who exploit, covet, insult and use others for their own gain.
Lord, let your face shine upon us and we shall be saved.
January 1, 2016
Mary, Mother of God
Num 6, 22-27; Gal 4, 4-7; Lk 2, 16-21