Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Same Attitude

September 25, 2011

Twenty-sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

When someone virtuous turns away from virtue to commit iniquity, and dies, it is because of the iniquity he committed that he must die. But if he turns from the wickedness he has committed, he does what is right and just, he shall preserve his life;
since he has turned away from all the sins that he has committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
Ezekiel 18:27-28

Have in you the same attitude that is also in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:5-8

"When John came to you in the way of righteousness, you did not believe him; but tax collectors and prostitutes did. Yet even when you saw that, you did not later change your minds and believe him." Matthew 21:32


The encouragement in Christ flows out of the realization that Christ is the perfection of the mystery of God in human life. The ways that we are like Christ are the makeup of our piety. Our solace in love, our participation in the Spirit, comes from our efforts to put on the mind and the heart of Jesus. There is no shortcut to closeness to Christ that bypasses the cross of Christ. The difficulties in our lives are the makeup of the cross that Christ asks us to carry in his name. The effort to do nothing out of selfishness or vainglory requires prayer, fasting and good works that we might be sensitive to what Christ is asking. Discernment flows out of our closeness to Christ that comes from prayer. The more I look at Christ in his life, the more I act like him. Familiarity with Christ gives us the nourishment for our piety. Our study of Christ increases our sensitivity to the Christ way of life. We become real "Christs" when we treat each other as better than ourselves.


Christ was obedient to the plan of his father even unto his death on the Cross. When he fell the third time and still got up to complete his climb to the hill of his dying, he challenges us to give until the last drop of our blood, too. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life for each of us if we want to discover what the plan of the Father is for us. Our study of how he died gives us the motivation to proclaim him as Lord to the glory of God the Father. We study what God is asking of us because of our state of life that we might know how to be Christ- like to all in our life.


The story of the man with two sons who heard the first say “yes” and then not go out to do his work and the second son who said “no” and then went out and did what was asked, puts the question to us of how obedient we are to the plan of God for us. We learn early on that it is all too easy to say “yes” and then do nothing of what we said “yes” to. The question we have to keep asking ourselves is: “Where would Christ be going if he were us? The “yeses” of our lives have their quality in the “no” that make the “yeses” possible. It is never too late to believe in Christ and to follow his example. It is our closeness to Christ in our lives that makes what we are doing special in the eyes of God. We are so much more than mere extensions of Christ. Our good deeds are the work of Christ in our world today.