Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Model For All The Believers

October 23, 2011

Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time A

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Thus says the LORD: "You shall not molest or oppress an alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt. You shall not wrong any widow or orphan. If ever you wrong them and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry. My wrath will flare up, and I will kill you with the sword; then your own wives will be widows, and your children orphans. Exodus 22:20-23

You know what sort of people we were among you for your sake. And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, receiving the word in great affliction, with joy from the Holy Spirit, so that you became a model for all the believers. 1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7a

"You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22: 37-39


Everything we have God has given us. He has even given us himself in his Son Jesus Christ who is God’s perfect love for us in all that he did and said. There is no moment more precious in our life than the moment when we are giving ourselves back to God by being so much more than mere companions of the journey by offering ourselves to Christ by our dying with him so that we can rise with him. When we can say, “When you see me, you see Christ,” we have arrived at the fullness of what our piety is all about. Our life in Christ is revealed by returning to the Lord all that he has given us and becoming Christ in the uniqueness of who we are. Our piety is how we say Christ to the world by our lives. We live the great commandment of the Lord when we love the Lord, our God, with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind. We return everything the Lord has given us to God when we love our neighbor as our self. God has given us all that we are and our piety is the graciousness in the ways we return ourselves to God with all that he has given us. The only way we can save our lives is by giving our lives away. When we do this, we can say with Paul that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us.


When we were young, all too often we were more interested in doing than studying. But we cannot give to others what we do not have ourselves. The law and the prophets gave Christ insight into the plan his Father had for him. In our Study of the Scripture, we walk with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus to listen to Christ explain how the law and the prophets pertained to him. We study the good people of our lives so that we can be imitators of them and of the Lord.


What we learn by our study of Scripture and how scripture is lived in our brothers and sisters, teaches us how to be models of Christ in all we say and do. We need to be able to say with our lives that when we are seen, Christ is seen. Our actions must flow out of our knowledge of the Lord. The only way we can give Christ to others is to give ourselves. We love Christ when we love the others of our lives. Wherever there is love God is there. It is love that makes our world go round. Our love gives the world its meaning. Christ has loved us with the same love his Father had for him. Christ invites us to love one another as he has loved us. Christ gave his life for us and we have a fullness of Christ’s love when we give our lives for each other.