Sunday, September 29, 2013

Compete Well for the Faith

By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Woe to the complacent in Zion!  Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall!  Amos 6:1a, 4

But you, man of God, pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  Compete well for the faith.  Lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called when you made the noble confession in the presence of many witnesses.  1 Timothy 6:11-12

Abraham replied, 'My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.  Moreover, between us and you a great chasm is established to prevent anyone from crossing who might wish to go from our side to yours or from your side to ours.’  Luke 16:25-26


Piety is seen in how we take care of the needy of our life.  Do we wait to be asked or do we give before we are asked?  Do we give left overs or the best of what we have?  God loved us so much that he gave his only Son to be one of us.  How we accept the gift of God in our lives is seen by our piety where we have put on the mind and the heart of Christ by following in his footsteps.  Our piety has all it needs in Christ.  There is a resemblance to Christ in the goodness of each of us.  How we appreciate the good others do is seen in the flattery of imitation.  Piety is shown in how we pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness.  This is how we compete for the faith and lay hold of eternal life.  God gives life to all that we do.  The commandments are the road map of eternal life.  They teach us how to live as Christ did.  When “Christ comes in his glory as the King of kings and Lord of lords, the unapproachable light of Christ” will be ours.  All honor and power will be ours.  All the Christ decisions of our lives will make sense to our world.  No sacrifice that we have made will be too much.


The rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day is judged by how he shared what he had.  Generosity is what the patriarchs and the great saints show us.  How we listen to their words and try to follow their example will be how we will be judged.  We study the saints because they show us in their time how Christ would have lived.  Each saint is a reflection of the plan of God for us.  What we most notice and try to imitate is how we will be judged.  God gives us every day the chance to make our lives worthwhile.


Gradually we learn the secret of life well lived is doing all out of love of Christ.  We go to his cross to find the love that is always waiting for us in our crosses of life when we live as Christ would have us live.  There is no bypass of the cross.  How we embrace it in his name is the measure of our souls.  Christ rich in his heavenly existence embraces our life with all its difficulties.  He makes out of our humanness the road to heaven.  How we do all for him is how we honor him and share his eternal power.  The ordinary becomes extraordinary when we do what we are about in the name of Christ.  There is no need to do anything more than the best we can do to allow Christ to live on in who we are.  Christ is the best of all of us.  Our littleness becomes his greatness when we live his love.

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