To Live Is Christ
TUESDAY, Easter week seven: May 10, 2016
The Responsorial Psalm continues yesterday’s Psalm, emphasizing that God saves and provides for us. The response is the same: “Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth” (Psalm 68).
In Acts 18: 20: 17-27 Paul gives an account of his ministry, knowing that he is on the road to death. He recalls: “I lived among you… serving the Lord with all humility… enduring the trials that came to me…” and “did not shrink from doing anything helpful, proclaiming the message… to both Jews and Greeks.” When he concludes, “I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord,” he gives the key to all Christian life: we live to let Christ live in us. We live only to continue his mission through all that we do. That is all we live for. We have “died” to everything else in order to live only as the risen body of Jesus: “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:19-20; Romans 12:2, 14:7-8; 1Corinthians 7:29-31; 2Cor. 5:14-21; Colossians 3:1-5 Philippians 1:20-24).
This sounds and is very radical, but it is all in the First Commandment (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37). That Commandment, however, was based on the Covenant between God and his People, while our commitment follows from our identification with Christ through Baptism. The authentically Christian life is to live for absolutely nothing in this world except to be Christ and continue Christ’s mission. Insofar as our personal gratification is concerned, we relate to everything we own and to everyone we know as if we were already dead (Matthew 19:21; 10: 37-39; 13: 44-46; Luke 14:26). We live to let Christ live in us; that is all. And in us Christ lives only to serve and to save. That was Paul’s life. It is ours. It is glorious. “Sing to God, O kingdoms of the earth.”
John 17: 1-11 is Jesus giving to the Father before he dies what Paul gave to the Ephesians: an account of his ministry. “I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do…. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me… and they have kept your word.” Now he asks the Father: “Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you.” Jesus is “glorified” — the truth and value of his life, and the victory of his defeat in death are revealed — through the evident presence and power of his life in his disciples: “I have been glorified in them.” We glorify Jesus by letting him live and work in us without restrictions or reserve. That is what it means to be a prophet: to visibly embody Christ, be a credible witness to the risen Jesus, give flesh to his words in action.
Initiative: Be a prophet. Live only to let Christ live in you.