“King of the Universe” is a big title for a poor carpenter. But God never chose obvious leaders. This Sunday’s first reading profiles another of God’s chosen leaders—David, a poor shepherd. It was he, the youngest and smallest of Jesse’s sons, whom God chose to be Israel’s leader. Why does God see greatness in humility?
Paul takes that humility a step further, calling Jesus the “image of the invisible God,” and the one who “delivered us from the power of darkness.”
Jesus was invisible as God because mankind was immersed in darkness so long that our eyes grew accustomed to it. Light hurt our eyes and we couldn’t see things the way God—the source of light and vision—saw them. That’s why very few recognized Jesus for who and what he was—just as nobody saw greatness in that little shepherd boy named David.
If humanity of old saw God at all, their vision was filtered through God’s Holy Spirit. They saw God through shafts of light. David was one of those light sources. The prophets of his era were too. They shed light on the word of God so humanity’s eyes would gradually make the transition from darkness to the light Jesus brought and promised as our inheritance. But many of his time grew to love the dark. Light hurt their eyes so much they couldn’t see Jesus for who he was. In fact his light also scared and confused them, so they nailed its source to a cross, between two other children of the darkness. But the eyes of one of these children gradually adjusted to the light and Jesus was no longer invisible to him. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” he said.
Many other children born into darkness have been reborn into that light ever since. Through the centuries the Holy Spirit has shone through them, whether through their writings or as reflected in others they’ve touched. That light is bequeathed from generation to generation, attracting lost souls out of their mine shafts and into the radiance of the Spirit’s beneficiaries. God abides in them. We see Him clearly through the saints, through our ancestors, and through the loved ones God places in our lives. God’s not invisible. Open your eyes and see Him.