His Grace Prakash Mallavarapu
Come Lord! Let Your Face Shine On Us
14th Dec, 2017
His Grace Prakash Mallavarapu

This Blog is by courtesy of - https://indiancatholicmatters.org/come-lord-let-your-face-shine-on-us/

By His Grace Prakash Mallavarapu,
Archbishop of Visakhapatnam —

Most Reverend Prakash Mallavarapu

For the Christian Community, the Advent season brings the invitation to ponder again the Mystery Incarnation, God made human being. This invitation is also a call for preparation for the renewal of the joy we experience through our communion with Jesus Christ. He is born for us in this world and in Him we have been receiving blessings upon blessings in our life. In Him and because of Him we are born in Baptism as children of God, “born in Water and Spirit” (Jn 3:4). Born in “water and Spirit,” we experientially know that God is love and God loved us even before we knew and loved him. Jesus Christ who is sent by God is the visible and tangible evidence of God’s love for us. This is the reason for our joy during the Christmas celebrations. We try to manifest this joy in the celebrations, in our personal sphere of life and in the families belonging to the Church, the “Family of Families!”

Both at home and at the Church, there is any number of external symbols and signs of the joy Christmas bring to us. As we are about to end the “Year of Family and Bible,” let us celebrate Christmas in our families and in the Church, the “Family of Families,” let us renew our understanding of the mystery of Incarnation and deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the greatest gift that God gave to us and to our world: “God so loved the world that He sent His only son into the world.”(Jn 3:16ff). As Christian families we seek His refuge and seek His blessings in order to live and bear witness to our Christian faith and in order to be the domestic churches that each family is called to be! Jesus Christ is the foundation, source and summit of Christian life!!

  1. Jesus Born of Mary is Emmanuel, God is with us: He is the face of the Father turned towards us (Mt 1:23b). We know from our human experience the meaning of turning one’s face away from the given person or not willing to look at the face of the other. It could mean indifference, dislike, discomfort, or would even indicative of a broken relationship. In the same way seeing face to face or looking at or into the face of the other would indicate the relationship of love, concern, affection, friendship, comfort, appreciation, etc. With the birth of Jesus Christ, something great happened in the history of humanity. In the Incarnate Son of God, we see and contemplate the face of God turned towards us. Jesus is the visible and tangible presence with us. In this way, we believe and experience Jesus Christ, Son of God made man and that is why, we praise and worship Him as God with us, Emanuel.

The face of God turned towards man is the source of life and blessings and that is why, this prayer of the Psalmist and others,” Let your face shine upon us, O Lord, and we shall be saved!” (Ps 31:16). This is one of the frequent prayers made in the Old Testament, especially in the book of Psalms. The devotee is seeking the blessings of God without which life would not be possible or life will not go well. It is our human need that God turns His Face towards us. We are blessed to see in Jesus Christ God face to face! The image of the “baby Jesus” placed in the crib at Christmas time or the image of Christ crucified on the Cross or the face of Jesus portrayed in the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or in a statue or picture of Divine Mercy or other pictures remind us of God’s face turned towards us. In that face of Jesus, God turned towards us, we experience love, peace, joy, mercy, compassion, benevolence, care and protection, healing and wholeness. That is the reason why the Psalmist also prays saying, “Do not turn your face from your servant, O Lord!” (Ps 27:9). One will miss all the above when God turns his face away. It is up to us and for our benefit that we turn to the Lord Jesus. As individuals and families, let us renew our joy of seeing the face of Jesus, praying, ‘Let your face shine on us, O Lord!,  Let your face shine on our homes and families, O Lord!’

  1. “Sir, we wish to see Jesus,” said some Greeks, (Jn 12: 21); “He who sees Me sees the Father” (Jn 14:9b): When Our Lord started His ministry after the Baptism at the Jordan, many wanted to see him. Some were very inquisitive, especially his opponents. Even John the Baptist sent his disciples to know if ‘he is the one who is to come or will have to wait still’ (Lk 7:18- 23). John the Baptist recognized and declared to his disciples saying, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” When the two of John the Baptist’s disciples went behind Jesus, they were told to “come and see!” and “they came and saw where he was staying…” (Jn1: 35ff).

Zacchaeus, the tax collector, “was trying to see who Jesus was..” (Lk19: 3ff) and we know what happened to him and to his life. In the same way some Greeks who came to Jerusalem asked  Philip, one of the twelve apostles, “Sir, we want to see Jesus” (Jn12.21 ff.). To Philip himself who said to Jesus, “Show us the Father,” Jesus replied, “whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘show us the Father’? Do you not know and believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?”(Jn 14:8ff)). At Christmas, each of us in the Church, the Family of families, should come or go to see Jesus.

Like all others in the last two thousand years, beginning with the shepherds who went and saw in the manger, the Child, the Savior, we the Christians today should go and see Jesus, to worship and offer gifts. He will bless us with joy and peace, forgiveness and healing (for our sins), and above all, he will renew and strengthen our faith and hope in order to help us to keep going on the journey of life!

  1. Jesus comes, “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Lk 1:79). “The Lord is my light and my salvation,” says the Psalmist (Ps 27:1). He prays saying, “Send out your light and your truth.” (Ps 43:3). Addressing His servant, Yahweh says, “I have given you as a covenant to the people and light to the nations,” (Is 42:6b). This light from above comes to us also in the Word that comes from God to lighten the path of our life and to enlighten our minds (Ps 119: 105,130).

From these and many other similar references in the Old Testament about the “light coming from the Lord,” we come to know that the light from on high, light coming from God is necessary for our life. For us Christians, the People of God, People of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ is that light come down from heaven. Before and at Christmas, we should approach this Light and seek light from the one who said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (Jn 8: 12). We should acknowledge that we need this light to withstand the forces of darkness that blind our eyes and minds. We constantly face the danger of losing sight of the true path. We can be wandering away from God, away from His commandments and away from the path he wants us to tread. This happens to us in our individual life and in the conjugal or family life or in the religious and priestly life. Darkness can pervade different areas of our life: in our mutual relationships, in the matters related to Church’s life, and in the society at large. The Mystery of Incarnation we are celebrating at Christmas affirms, “WE AND WORLD NEEDS THIS SON OF GOD, JESUS CHRIST WHO HAS COME TO GIVE LIGHT AND LIFE. Let us go to Him and seek from Him that light and life.

“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eye witnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain.” (2 Peter 1:16-18).

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