Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Psalm 105:1-4, 6-9
Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;
make known among the nations what he has done.
Sing to him, sing praise to him;
tell of all his wonderful acts.
Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Look to the Lord and his strength;
seek his face always.
you his servants, the descendants of Abraham,
his chosen ones, the children of Jacob.
He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
He remembers his covenant forever,
the promise he made, for a thousand generations,
the covenant he made with Abraham,
the oath he swore to Isaac.
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
January is an excellent time to be reminded that Jesus shared in our humanity, became like us, “fully human in every way”. We have just celebrated the Incarnation of our Lord, when He laid down His glory and became human. And now we’ve just passed back into ordinary time, celebrated a New Year, made New Year’s resolutions to beat our imperfections out of us, and gone back to our busy schedules, re-commencing the quest to transcend our humanity and perfect ourselves. We can get caught back up in crafting our images and brands, trying to be super-humans, and building our kingdoms. How do we maintain in our memory that God, rather than transcend our humanity, embraced it, and became it? And that we are called to build His kingdom?
We can take our example from our great high priest, who was tempted in all ways like us. Jesus served before He was served, met sickness with healing, fled from fame and popularity, tended to the care of His soul and communion with His Father, and did what it took to receive, understand, and live out His mission in life.
So let us too, rise early not because the early bird gets the worm but to commune with the King of Heaven. When everyone is seeking us, let us also seek to go somewhere else, where we are called and needed. Let us neither aggrandize our sufferings nor become despondent if they are not removed from us, but seek ever to unite them to our Savior’s cross and understand both what we suffer and what we enjoy as He understands them. Let us not fret over our imperfections nor become complacent about them, but entrust them humbly and honestly to the One who is perfect and to His care to perfect, ennoble, and exalt us. And let us not feel we must be perfect before we can minister to others or proclaim the gospel to them, but be humble and vulnerable like our God who loves them so and desires to come to them just as they are and just as He is.