Like all Christians, the Resurrectionists are able to accomplish this mission because they hope that God has the power and will to bring about, in us, new life from suffering and death. We see this theme in each of our readings this 2nd weekend of Advent.
However, from our experience of Jesus in the Gospels, he is not ‘that kind’ of King. His kingdom is not on a map, but within and among us. In the Gospel Jesus makes it clear who belongs to his kingdom, who proclaims him as their King. What makes us righteous in the sight of God (and one another) is fulfilling the will of God and making him manifest through our lives of love and service. The sheep are people of solidarity with those in need and those who suffer. The goats are oblivious and indifferent to that need and suffering. It is a
The Constitutions of the Congregation of the Resurrection indicate that Resurrectionists are called to “give glory to God by manifesting the presence of the Risen Christ in the world” (Art. 5). It further states that we accomplish this best when “we will strive for our own personal sanctification by accepting Christ as our model and by living a life of ever-greater union with him” (Art. 5). No passage in Scripture can direct this process more clearly than the one that we hear this Sunday in our second reading: Philippians 2:1-11.
In Lima, Peru, I was asked to go with the local village people to climb the mountain behind the village on the feast of the Cross. But it was a different experience than what I thought it would be. We all carried the cross in two parts; everyone carried small pieces of glass and/or mirrors in our hands. After a four walk up the mountain we came to a flat area of land overlooking the valley. A hole was dug, the cross assembled, and I blessed the moment. When I asked why we did this the answer was clear. The Cross could be seen from all those in the valley below.
The overriding theme in each of the readings for this 23rd Sunday is about reconciliation, forgiveness, caring concern, community, the debt of love. In other words, all those things that bind the Christian community together; it is the glue, the paste, the common bond that forms the community of which Christ is the center.
“Who do YOU say that I am?” The disciples must have taken a deep breath when Jesus asked them this question, not sure what to say. Finally Peter, always impetuous Peter, spoke up and declared that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Like a turtle sticking out its neck, Peter declared himself. That is not something that one declares, and then sinks back into oblivion – it is a declaration of commitment to Jesus!
During the war in France a number of soldiers, who had been killed, were buried in the cemetery of the local Catholic Church. However one soldier, non-Catholic, was refused burial since he didn't belong. The Pastor could not give in. He would have to be buried outside the fence. That night, when it was dark, the men came back to rebury their friend in the cemetery. When they arrived they saw the pastor moving the fence so that the soldier was now inside the fence with his comrades.
This Sunday's readings invite us to embrace two aspects of God's presence - awe in the presence of God and boldness in the presence of God. Faith is risk. In order to understand the new ways in which God would be revealed, Elijah had to risk looking for and listening for God in ways and in places other than the familiar, the expected and the traditional. Elijah has to risk looking beyond what was known to him in order to find God in the unknown, i.e., in a tiny whispering sound.