Monday, December 15, 2014

Met Georges Khodr: Your Life is Hidden with Christ

Arabic original here.

Your Life is Hidden with Christ

In the text of the Epistle assigned for us today, the Apostle Paul addresses the Colossians saying, "Your life is hidden with Christ in God... When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you will also appear with Him in glory."

Christ is our life. This meas that every good thing is in Him and every truth is from Him. This expression must be taken literally. These are words spoken between lovers: "You are my life." That is, "I have no existence apart from this constant encounter between us." Thus, says Paul, we have no existence if we are not being constantly transformed into the face of Christ who is our life. Of course, Paul is realistic and he knows that man constantly falls into sin. However, Paul says that those who are in Christ expel sin like healthy bodies expel a foreign body. When there is surgery that requires implanting a new member, the patient remains in danger of his body rejecting the foreign member until that foreign member takes on the characteristics of the healthy body and the patient is healed. It is exactly in this sense that the Apostle Paul says, "Put on the new man." Put on the new man who is healed in Jesus Christ, then you will expel every illness within you. A Christian may commit sins, but if he is truly in Christ Jesus, then the light of Christ will inter into the folds of his darkened soul and show him the ugliness of his condition. Christ is in him, leading him to expel the sin that is in him, to heal and purify himself and to yearn for the new, healed man that he acquired at baptism.

This new man, Paul continues, who was planted in us at baptism, "is renewed in knowledge in the image of his Creator." Thus the constant longing for Christ that is planted in us at baptism is renewed and constantly grows. He is renewed in the image of his Creator. That is, he becomes like God. This is Christianity: the human person extending from earth to heaven. There are no boundaries before the Christian, no ceiling over his head. He pushes up against heaven. He does not want anything less than heaven. The Christian truly strives to become a god. He is renewed in the image of the Creator. As long as the believer's face is constantly toward his Lord, as long as he fixes his gaze upon Him, despite his weaknesses and his sin, then he will be transformed into the glory of Christ's face.

Then Paul goes even further when he goes on to say that if we have this love for Christ, this constant longing for Him, "there is no Jew nor Greek". This means that there is no fence between people and no enmity and so "neither slave no free". Why do people enslave each other? Why is there oppression and tyranny? Why do people despise each other? Because they are slaves to created things, outside the communion of the love of Christ. We cannot ask a person to refrain from sin and from greed, which is idolatry, unless he becomes free in Christ. This is what the Holy Scriptures confirm to us and what the Church calls us to as she takes us to receive the feast that comes to us with blessings.

The Church calls us to try to be people who want to exterminate sin within ourselves: greed, impurity, lust in all their variety. The Church calls us today from slavery to the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus. She says to us that the newborn God is given to us anew at Christmas so that we may know His headship. Let us confess before His light that we are weak, and that faced with this weakness, we want Him to be in us strength and life.

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