The video at the bottom of this post is a heartwarming one with a surprise ending. I see in it an illustration of something St. Paul wrote of the essentially sacrificial nature of evangelization:

Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. (1 Cor 9:19-23)

To be clear, what St. Paul says here must be understood as solidarity and brotherhood, not compromise with sin or evil. At every level St. Paul is willing to set aside anything in the moment that hinders the preaching of the truth of the Gospel. Every pretense, every honor, every distinction, every preference, that interferes with the gospel message is forsaken where necessary. There is described here a great willingness for Kenosis (emptying oneself).

And of course St. Paul is imitating Jesus who:

though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

Yes, it is remarkable that Jesus, though sinless, was not ashamed to be identified with sinners.  And thus he took baptism at the Jordan. He associated with sinners and ate with them. And he underwent the most humiliating punishment meted out to the worst of sinners. Yes he was crucified, and between two thieves at that! Everyone walking by that Friday would say, “Look at that sinner!” (Which he was not). To us sinners he was willing to be seen as a sinner (though he was not), in order to save sinners. And He was assigned a grave with the wicked (Is 53:9)

There is an old saying that Jesus didn’t come only to get us out of trouble, He got into trouble with us. Yes, he endured every blow this world and hell itself could give. Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody but Jesus.

Surely he endured our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:4-6)

Yes, he got into trouble with us and joined us to save us:

In bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through what he suffered. 11Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers He says, “I will declare your name to my brethren… (Heb 2:9-11)

All these scriptures occurred to me as I saw this commercial. To be clear, there is no sin in paralysis. But here let it be a metaphor for our weakness that the Lord that the Lord took up, and for our sin that though sinless, the Lord was willing to be identified with. And what of us? Can we be like St. Paul and imitate Christ in this matter?

8 Responses

  1. George Pope says:

    Hate the sin; love the sinner.

  2. RichardGTC says:

    Guinness is my favorite beer (note: the writer of this comment is in way employed by the Guinness Beer Corporation to write this comment. That is a neat commercial. Adam, through the temptation of the devil, considered equality with God something to be grasped at.

  3. Heidi Keene says:

    beautiful post Msgr! Thank you!!

  4. DaisyBuchanan says:

    Dreadful message. Beer is addictive, causes thousands of deaths every year on the highways. Perhaps the paralyzed fellow in the commercial was struck by a drunk driver. Perhaps Guinness paid to have this video linked with this good-guy site. It’s called product placement and happens all the time.

    • Jesus made wine in abundance. Beer and wine are not bad. Drunkenness is. Lighten up a little Daisy, maybe have a small glass of vino, but don’t spy on the freedom the rest of us enjoy in Christ and please refrain from condemnations and accusations you cannot be certain of and thus have no basis to make. Perhaps you have suffered on account of someone else’s drinking. If so I am sorry. I lost my mother tragically and suddenly on account of alcohol, but that does not give me the right to condemn moderate drinkers or alcohol per se. It is the abuse that is sin, not the gift: The Lord gives wine to cheer man’s heart (Psalm 109:15).

  5. David says:

    I believe that was Psalms 104:15, Monsignor…but true all the same.

  6. Gilbert Kuruppacheril says:

    I finished this Ad with teras in my eyes. Thank you for the post Monsignor.God bless!

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