Immersed in Christ: May 1, 2020
Friday, Week Three of Easter
The Response (Mark 16:15, used with Psalm 117) is our life: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.”
Acts 9: 1-20 is the source of everything Paul preached: “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” From the first, Paul knew Jesus as identified with us.
Paul could have answered, “I am not persecuting you. I am persecuting your followers.” But he didn’t, because he understood immediately, and more deeply than he had ever understood anything in his life, what Jesus was saying. Those who receive the life of God in Baptism “become Christ.” This is the “mystery hidden throughout the ages and generations but now revealed.” The mystery Paul was sent to preach is simply Christ in you, the hope of glory.” That is how Paul identified himself: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.” We must see and identify ourselves in the same way: as people who have “become Christ.” 1
When Ananias laid hands on Paul, “something like scales fell from his eyes.” This is what happens to us when we finally recognize the true mystery of Baptism and realize that we have “become Christ.” We recognize what Paul meant when he said “You have come to fullness in him.” And “God has made you alive together with him.” “Continue to live your lives in him” as his living, risen body on earth. 2
Then we understand our life as mission: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.” The Church “exists to evangelize.” The Church is us. 3
What does it take to make the scales fall from our eyes? The truth is, most of us do not think of ourselves as “being Christ.” As Christians, yes. Or “Catholics” (or Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, etc.). And if asked what that meant, we would probably list the doctrines, rules and practices that belong to our “religion.” How many would say, “It means I try to be conscious of Christ acting with me, in me and through me all day long”? How many could honestly say, “It means that in everything I do I try consciously to act “through him, with him and in him” as his risen body on earth”? There are scales on our eyes. Scales of superficial religious instruction. Scales of cultural conditioning. Scales of shortsighted preoccupation with “the cares of the world, the lure of wealth, and desire for other things” that blind us to mystery. Do we even know we are blind?4
The blind in John 6: 52-59 ask: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” The Presentation of Gifts should open our eyes to ask: “If the bread we present becomes the Body of Christ, can’t we in a real way ‘become Christ’ by Baptism?” We grow to appreciate how we who “eat his flesh ‘abide in him and he in us’” by staying conscious of Jesus acting with us, in us and through us in everything we do. We grow into it.
Initiative: Identify yourself. Be comfortable saying, “I have become Christ.”
1 See the Catechism of the Catholic Church 795, 460; Colossians 1:25-28; Galatians 2:19-20. 2 See Colossians 2:6-13. 3 Paul VI, Evangelization in Modern World, no. 14. 4 Mark 4:19. Read the whole parable. #EasterSeason #FatherDavidKnight