- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

September 13, 2017

Fr. Jerome Machar, OCSO [1]

Memorial of St. John Chrysostom
Colossians 3:1-11; Luke 6: 20-26

“Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). These words are taken from today’s first reading. They echo another passage, taken from the Letter to the Galatians, “It is no longer I who live but Christ Who lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). We need to ponder these words carefully and to take them to heart. If we don’t, we will hear Jesus rebuke: “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s” (Mat. 16:23). As members of the Body of Christ, we are to look at the people around us with the eyes of Christ. The problem we face is, we are not totally transformed just yet. With Saint Paul, we need the humility to admit, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor. 13:12). Total conformity to Christ is a life-ling process.

Because our sight is cloudy and things around us are often shadowy and hard to distinguish, we feel like the blind man on the roadside being questioned by Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” to which the blind man replied, “Master, I want to recover my sight” (Mk. 10:51). The Christian walk is a journey towards the heart of Christ where we will find forgiveness for all our sins and are brought to fullness of life. It is important to remember that Christianity is not a self-improvement program nor is it a self-help organization. As members of the Body of Christ, we come to Christ Who is the healer of our souls. It is only the Beloved Son Who died and rose again that can replace our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh. Only those who regain their spiritual eyesight can see and love what Christ sees and loves in every person.

Realizing that we are a work in progress, let us revisit the passage with which I opened this reflection. “Your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). We are waiting for that which is hidden to be revealed. True and eternal life is a treasure buried deep within us. To possess it, we must be willing to sell all and claim it. Recall these beautiful words from the Letter to the Philippians: “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12). The journey within is frightful to the weak of heart, but well worth taking. We have these words from the Book of Revelation to assure us. “To whoever is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will also him a white stone inscribed with a new name that no one will know except the one who receives it” (Rev. 2:17). That which we see only in an incomplete reflection will give way to a face to face encounter with Christ. We are called to live a life of faith and to allow ourselves to be filled with the breath of the Holy Spirit. Eternal life is the gift of God, but it comes to us through Jesus Christ. As we conform ourselves with Christ, we will enjoy the newness of life and discover who we really are. When Christ, who is our life, appears [at the end of time], may we also will appear with him in glory (CF. Col. 3:4).