During my novitiate, a question was asked during the ‘recollection/prayer day’ in preparation for Christmas, “If Jesus were to be born today, where he would be born?” Many of us wrote answers from our own experience. I think I wrote something like this, Jesus would be born in a poor family. It was a common answer. One of my companion wrote an answer, which was radical for me at that time. The answer was, he would be born as the son of a Muslim refugee women. Definitely that was the time the refugee crisis was at its peak (situation is not much different today).
We are living in a world which has myriads of opinions about each topic, and these differences become significant when the questions considered affect life. The response of the church are supported by some, opposed by some. Some say it is conservative, some say it is liberal. Opinions are many. A philosopher named Wattimo would say, religions should shed excessive rituals, paraphernalia and many other aspects and make charity (love) as be judging factor. He would speak of secularized religions. Likewise, a guiding principle for Christians today could be, “If the second person of Trinity would become human, where that birth would take place?” (I have modified the question slightly; you might observe the reason from some of the answers I give). Now, some might say that Jesus won’t be born again… if you consider that as an objection to the exercise, i think you are missing the point. Some of my options could be
- Can be born in a poor family of blacks in America or Dalits in India.
- Can be born to a single mother.
- Can be born to a refugee of any religion (Yes… any religion is important)
- Can even be born as a child to a prostitute, a lady forcefully pushed into that profession.
- Can be born as a female in any of the above conditions or in some other situation. (Philosopher Lous Iriguray’s thoughts have prompted to push in this idea. Some might consider this drastically problematic). God is beyond our conceptions of gender, so I wouldn’t find it an anomaly to imagine the second person born as a female.
We can continue the list. Each one could add more. From my understanding of the birth of Jesus 2000 years ago, it would be so difficult to be born in a family of any of my readers or me. Probably we are too privileged for that event to happen.
When we consider these as the options for the second person of trinity to be born, they are places of holiness. These places and peoples are agents of evangelization. They can transform — us, the church and the world. If the actions/words of the church remain actively open to the transforming/evangelizing potential of such people and situations, the church will remain rooted to that carpenter’s son who was not born in a wedlock.