Q: What does “in the fullness of time” mean? What does this mean for us today as Christian disciples? Susan Clare Lee

The Holy Mother & Child by Stephen B WhatleyA: In Gal. 4:4, St Paul says that “in the fullness of time, God sent forth his Son”. The use of this phrase points to the fact that the plan of God was not something arbitrary or unplanned, but that there was in the unfolding of time and circumstances, a specific time for the culmination of God’s love to be manifest to humankind and for salvation to be fulfilled in Christ.

This phrase also takes into consideration the incredibly convoluted way through which Christ, the apogee of salvation, finally came to be.

The genealogy that is featured in Matthew’s gospel speaks vividly about just how mired in sin and brokenness the human race was, and how despite this messy and even embarrassingly scandalous family history, God could and did enter into our existence and purified it from within.

The nativity of Jesus is that fullness of time that Paul referred to. This being the case, we are all living in the “fullness of time” as well.

As Christians given the life of Christ at our baptism, this has repercussions for all of us. God’s promises which were fulfilled at the birth of the Christ child are now still being fulfilled in and through our own lives lived in response to our identity of being priests, prophets and kings.

Our conscious participation that is lived out in membership of the Body of Christ makes the Christ event real and relevant to the world.

This is what it means for us as disciples of Christ. It will always be a great challenge for us because it often means that we have to consciously put aside our selves and our preferences in love and service of others. And we do this until the fulfilment of God’s promises brings us to the second coming of Christ.

Fr Luke Fong