Who are you mister? You have climbed onto my couch and eaten from my table.” This is the voice of Salome to Jesus in the Gospel of Thomas. It was written during the same time period as the canonical Gospels, around 60 of the Common Era. The Gospel of Thomas was discovered in 1945, part of a collection now called the Nag Hammadi Library.
In this story, Salome and Jesus were at a gathering typical of the groups associated with Jesus the Anointed, a meal at which the people generally lay down together while eating, drinking, learning, arguing, and feasting. A practice most of us would find shocking – along with Salome's language, far from the deference and praise of our first reading (The Tripartite Tractate) composed some two hundred years later.
In this account from the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus replies to Salome's challenge. “I derive from the One who is connected to all. I was given some of the things of my Father. (61:2) Fascinating (!) that Jesus understands himself to have some of the things of God the One connected to all.
Today we focus on the Incarnation phenomenon, the teaching codefied by the First Council of Nicea in 325, again in the Council of Ephesus in 431, and again in the council of Chalcedon in 451.
The doctrine states that God became flesh in the historical Jesus whose earthly presence was both 100% divine and 100% human. We were taught as Catholic children that to be all divine and all human all at once like Jesus in a static moment is a great mystery. Later, we adults ( inclined to do the math ) while evolving through time, are most likely to conclude that to be human is also an experience of becoming divinity. Still a great mystery!
Well, maybe we'd be less nervous about this divinization process if we grew up in an eastern church, or in any church that pushes its mysticism front and center like Mary Magdalene the Tower. How I wish we long ago had her words too ~ that [God] “has prepared us that we might become fully human.” This Mary would have helped dispel the dualistic thinking undergirding imperialsim in church and society.
So, Friends, now we are just scratching the surface of the audacious claim that We Are the Incarnation. Let's recline our minds, kick back for five minutes and reflect on one word or phrase from the readings today or references in the homily that shock us. You may want to write them down to share later. How do you notice the character of God in you?
A Homily with Free Spirit Inclusive Catholic Community
July 31, 2022