Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The absolute priority

The Word of God rings with stories of God’s fidelity to His people, leading them to a land of freedom from slavery in Egypt to Israel, and in the New Testament, salvation in the Cross of our Savior, Jesus the Lamb of Sacrifice. God never abandons us to die to sin or leaves us without hope, especially in our “desert suffering.”  Like the people of Israel we have sinned and need to rise again that death may not stifle eternal life in our souls.  For the consequence of sin is death ( Rom. 6:23). Jesus on the Cross also lifts us away from the deadly poison of sin so we may share in His glory as true disciples living and witnessing to His mission of love, mercy and forgiveness.

Jesus radically transforms our life direction by challenging us to mind rise above our nature and enter into the mind and heart of God our Father with Him as our “big” Brother.  St. Paul admonishes us: “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Rom. 12:2). God created us for eternal glory and nothing else can satisfy the deepest longing of our hearts.  We must not forget that this world with all its pleasures and allurements will pass and as Our Lady said to Bernadette at Lourdes, “I do not promise you happiness in this world, but in the next.”

Our absolute priority must be to follow Jesus’ way of selfless love and refuse to let any person or thing interfere with our love of God and neighbor and self-sacrifice for the Kingdom.  We meet Christ most intimately at the Cross and the self-same act of love at the Eucharist, where we too learn to make an offering of ourselves in love.  “And my people who bear my name humble themselves, and pray and look at me, and turn from their wicked ways then I myself will hear from heaven and forgive their sins and  restore their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). “ “Set your hearts first on the kingdom and justice of God and all these things will also be given to you” (Mt. 6:33).

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