Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Dustin Collins
February 24, 2019
Each saint throughout the history of the Church has a story to tell. None of their stories are the same, but in the end they reach the same goal, Heaven. What drew people to the saints especially when they lived upon this earth dwelling among us? My answer would be their love for Christ. People were not drawn towards a cult of personality, they were not drawn towards prestige, they were not drawn towards a message of worldliness, but rather they were drawn towards Christ who dwelt through them.
From our Epistle we heard: “Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one.” This points us back towards Adam who ushered in a reign of sin and death, but through Christ and through what He accomplished for us upon the cross we have been set free from this burden which enslaves us. It is not enough to desire to dwell apart from Christ, but instead we must embrace Him. We cannot simply be content with only embracing Him, but also striving each day to conform our life on this earth to be more like His.
And so the saints accomplished this task. They show us that this task is something which is possible. Not only is this task possible, but this task is also life giving. Despite this reality so many of us fear to hand our life over to Christ. To place our fears and our concerns in His Hands. To be led not down the path that we desire, but instead the path which leads towards Him.
Our Gospel makes it clear that if we are to “bear the image of the heavenly one” that we first have a lot of self emptying that we must undergo. If you think that our Gospel passage sounded pleasant or even easy then you were not paying attention. I encourage you to go back later today and read it over again and take its contents to prayer for we will soon begin to undergo the season of Lent. If we truly want to grow in virtue and grow as saints we need to humble ourself in the Lenten season if we are to ever be formed into bearing the image of the heavenly one.
As Christians we are called to a different standard and that is the standard of Christ. Yet so often we take our sight off of this standard to walk about lost in this vale of tears. The saints understood that this standard was Christ and so they always moved themself towards this standard.
Do we truly desire to be like the saints, do we truly desire be borne in the image of the heavenly one, do we truly desire to move towards the standard of Christ, do we truly desire to live the hardships as expressed in Saint Luke’s Gospel, or are we simply content with where we are in the here and now? We need to be awakened out of our slumber and stirred into movement.
Lent calls us out of our slumber and stirs us into movement. It calls us to undergo practices such as prayer, fasting, and almsgiving in order that we can grow in this love. Yet how many of us dare to take this season seriously in order to grow in our pursuit of love for God and neighbor? We must take these practices seriously if we are to cut away that which leads us astray from this love and stir us into motion! In this way we too can strive to be like the saints who have been “borne (in) the image of the earthly one, but also bear the image of the heavenly one.”