The Scandal of the Incarnation!

2 John 7
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.

Whenever big numbers like “2000” roll up on the odometer of history, there’s always somebody out there ready to go antichrist hunting.  And the last few years were no exception to that rule.  Of course, there’s been no shortage of antichrist wannabes, particularly in the last century. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all gave good college tries for the position.  But one difficulty with those who are keeping an eye out for Mr. Big with his horns, three-piece suit and sinister plans to use the Internet or the European Common Market to achieve world domination, is that we can often overlook the fact that John warns us against Mr. Little too.  For the reality is, as today’s verse points out, that anybody who rejects the Incarnation (“the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh”) is a little antichrist (though he or she may not realize it and may be as much deceived as deceiver).  For the heart of Catholic faith is not merely that God exists, but that He took on human flesh.  Many people simply cannot, in their hearts, stand that idea.  And many of them are Christians who, whatever they say, are horrified at the notion that God became man and that He continues to meet us through physical means like the Eucharist.  Such people say things like “I believe in a God who is purely spiritual” and by it they mean “I believe in a God who has nothing to do with matter, which is intrinsically evil.”  Still others, fancying themselves secularists, say, “I believe there is only matter and energy and that God does not exist and has nothing to do with the physical universe.”  Both these notions are precisely what John is warning against.  It is the deception of antichrist, even if we happen to think it is “true Bible Christianity vs. Romish superstition” or the New Age or Enlightened Scientific Thought.  The scandal of the Incarnation remains a scandal.  It also remains the Truth.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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