FRIDAY: Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time
Imitating and Practicing the Integrity of Christ
Friends. Sit back. Think! Imagine Jesus wants us to be true replicas of himself. He is cognizant and familiar with all our human flaws. He refuses to judge us (Jn.3:17). Instead, he keeps training us (Ps.144:1; Heb.12:6) by means of his word and sacraments until our integrity shines like the sun (Is.62:1).
God in Christ is restless until he transubstantiates our mortal beings into true copies of himself. Wow! This is the essence of true love. Put differently, Jesus wants us to become like him: the Way, the Truth, and Light for others. For this reason, he bestowed upon us the gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom understanding, counsel and fortitude that as his sentinels in the world, we will direct our brothers and sisters towards the right path, which led our ancestors in faith along the path of virtuousness (Jer.6:16).
In the light of the same, Christ begs us to scrutinize our own conscience in search of any trace of duplicity and hypocrisy and repent of them, daily. Why? He wants us to be perfect models not for ourselves but for others. We cannot afford to be physically or spiritually blind. According to Pope St. Gregory the Great, in his homily on Ezekiel, “Anyone appointed to be a watchman for the people must stand on high ground for all his life to help them by his foresight.” High ground in this context is not necessarily a hill or a plateau as must as it implies embracing high moral standards. In other words, we must allow God to make us models worthy of emulation.
This is exactly what Christ is alluding to when he speaks of blind guides. Such are the sentinels who can discern the faults of others but are unable to recognise their own faults. Today, Christ appeals to us to come forth and stand on the same moral high ground with him so that we can lift others to the same level that he has lifted us.
Paul in writing to Timothy presents himself as an ideal model of what God wants to accomplish in us. Christ encounters Paul as an enemy of the faith; he never condemned him. Instead, through the loving mercy of God, the Lord transformed him through the power of his divine grace and made him a sentinel for persons like Timothy and the like. In the same way, God in Christ is calling us to experience the same transformation that we, in turn, many become his sentinels for others.
O Lord, you appointed me a sentinel to my people. Keep the flame aglow in me and I will do all I can to be a faithful and true witness.