Let’s try to take a lesson from our reading of the early chapters of St. Mark’s gospel. In the course of the first six chapters, we read about how not one, but two demons recognize Christ for Who He is. The demons speak out, through the men they have possessed, and call Jesus, “The Holy One of God.” We heard about one of these episodes in our gospel reading at Mass this past Sunday.
Then Jesus speaks to fellow human beings, the ones who knew Him the best, His hombeboys and homegirls in Nazareth. He graciously offers them them His sublime doctrine about the Kingdom of God.
And they say, “Who does this uppity carpenter think He is? We know Him too well; we have seen His beard come in when He was a teenager. We can hardly be expected to believe in Him!”
You may recall that we discussed this a couple of summers ago: The great danger of our over-familiarity with human life getting in the way of our actually believing in the Incarnation.
When Adam and Eve grasped for the apple–we call that pride, and rightly so. To presume to be a law for ourselves, above the law laid down by God. But: Sin and estrangement from God involve a false pride about our human prerogatives by which we actually sell ourselves way short.
God esteems things like men getting their beards in adolescence. He esteems things like fixing breakfast and trimming toenails. Things like sweating on hot days and bundling-up on cold ones. He esteems our quotidian human things so much that He Personally embraced them Himself for 33 years.
Or even longer maybe. He is still altogether human, after all, in heaven. And maybe they make coffee and eat muffins and sweetbread up in heaven while they gaze at the face of the heavenly Father. They might, for all we really know about it.
My point is: the Nazarenes could not attain the Christian faith–they could not recognize what even the demons recognized, that God has fingernails now–the Nazarenes could not do it, because in their hearts they despised their own dirty fingernails.
But God loves our fingernails more than we can imagine. He loves it when we drink water, or burp, or blow our noses. When we see babies sneeze, tender affection overcomes us. That is like a tiny drop of the tender affection our Creator feels for us, even when we snore like lumberjacks and cut the cheese.