04 October 2006

You are marked!

St. Francis of Assisi: Galatians 6.14-18 and Matthew 11.25-30
Fr. Philip N. Powell, OP
St. Albert the Great Priory, Irving, TX

I. Do not boast but praise God and come to Christ. Paul prays that he may never boast in his own deeds. He has done nothing worthy on his own, nothing deserving credit or praise without the cross. The world he evangelizes is crucified. Sacrificed and given up for holy. And he is crucified for the world. Himself set aside for a single work and marked not by circumcision but by the wounds of Christ on his body and thus made a New Creation in the loving surrender of Jesus on the cross. What is there for Paul to boast about? Will he boast about his turning from sin? Will he boast about his grand commission to preach to the Gentiles? Will he boast about the miles he has traveled or the crowds he has exhorted? Will he boast of his wounds? No. He was turned from sin. He was given his commission. Christ walked those miles and Paul followed. The crowds belonged to Jesus from the start. And the wounds are his as well. So is the victory and ours if we will not boast.

II. Do not boast but praise God and come to Christ. Jesus gives praise to his Father for revealing to His little ones the wisdom of salvation, for revealing to those who are not wise in the world or learned in the flesh what it means to be of the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus gives praise to his Father for His gracious will, His will that only those truly trusting, truly faithful—not planners or schemers or jostlers for power and position—only those who look to Christ with opened eyes and opened ears may know the Father’s wisdom. And that wisdom is this: All things have been handed over to Christ by His Father and we come to know the Father through Christ b/c Christ wishes to reveal Him to us. Why is this praiseworthy? Why offer an orthodox shout—a yelp of right praise—for this wisdom? What is there better to praise than the gift of knowing and loving God? What is there better to praise than the grace of Christ’s revelation of his Father? What is there better to praise than the presence of God among us as Man, attending to our wounds in sin, healing the breaks and tears and cuts of self-inflicted disobedience? Praise God! Lord of heaven and earth!

III. Do not boast but praise God and come to Christ. Jesus asks us to come to him. To drop the pretense. Drop the haughty posturing and ridiculous anxiety. Throw down the excesses of Self that burden your spirit—that small self that strains to hold up the prestigious job, the pretty degrees, the grand SAT score, the grand GRE or LSAT or MCAT score, the perfect GPA, the best job offer, the right car, the fear of failure, the worry of getting it wrong, the pressure to marry or not. Throw off the expectations of the world, the world that will make you into a pinched and nervous adult, anxious about everything that cannot matter and carefree about the one thing that does: Christ! Go to him. Take him on as your teacher. Let him show you the fertile field in front of you. And he will take you in hand and give you rest. There is no point in being a Christian if we stubbornly refuse to follow Christ, demanding our own way from God. Demand nothing. You are marked! So, do not boast. But praise God for His wisdom. And come to Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment