"Many Christians have what we might call a "cultural holiness". They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy. But God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God."
Gospel text (Mk 3:13-19): Jesus went up into the hill country and called those He wanted and they came to him. So He appointed twelve to be with him; and he called them apostles. He wanted to send them out to preach, and He gave them authority to drive out demons. These are the Twelve: Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; James, son of Zebedee, and John his brother, to whom he gave the name Boanerges, which means “men of thunder”; Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alpheus, Thaddeus, Simon the Cananean and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed him.
"And what does God require of those He calls? He asks us to live close to him as we serve him, and in return, He promises to stay close to us. Yet, God speaks to each one of us individually and specifically. «One day perhaps an ordinary Christian, just like you, opened your eyes to horizons both deep and new, yet as old as the Gospel. He suggested to you the prospect of following Christ earnestly, seriously, of becoming an apostle of apostles. Perhaps you lost your balance then and didn't recover it. Your complacency wasn't quite replaced by true peace until you freely said “yes” to God, because you wanted to, which is the most supernatural of reasons. And in its wake came a strong, constant joy, which disappears only when you abandon him» (Saint Josemaria Escrivá de Balaguer).
It is a blessing, but it is a blessing that can only be fully realized when we become holy through our willingness to serve, through prayer, and through the blessed sacraments. «All faithful Christians, of any kind and condition, are called to the plenitude of Christian life and to the perfection of charity; a sanctity that, also in our earthly society, contributes to humanize our way of life» (Vatican Council II).
This is how we learn of our apostolic mission of taking Christ to others. First, having him ourselves so that we can share him. Today, and every day, we must meditate upon the true nature of our call to vocation, answering his call with an increased love, born of our increased understanding of what He calls us to do and to be.
What demons would Jesus be driving out today? Whom would he be healing? With whom would he be eating? About what would he be preaching? What authorities would think he was mentally ill, threatening, or evil? Would I have the courage and faith to follow such a man when he called?
Of course, Jesus is calling each of us every day. We need to discern in our lives what that call is and if we are truly willing to accept it. Jesus' call looks different in different people's lives, but I believe that one way or another it involves dining with and caring for the poor and marginalized, loving, forgiving, healing, welcoming the stranger and the migrant, and tirelessly working for peace and justice."
Friday, January 21, 2011
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