THURSDAY: Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Embracing the Ethic of Christ
The prism wall mural of the Holy Family, the backdrop of the sanctuary in the Parish Church of Roseau, Jacmel, St. Lucia is breathtaking. The concentric circles of egg-shaped figures and colours are ambiguous yet the artist Dunstan St. Omer was purposeful in portraying the divine sojourning with suffering humanity in anticipation of a saviour and redeemer. The apex of this mural is the infant Christ embraced in his Mother’s arm. Christ, the central figure extends his hand, holding out the Eucharist – a perfect portrayal of himself as the kenosis.
In this single gesture, Christ defined his baptism, his mission to the world, his Passion, death and resurrection. Christ understood clearly, he was destined to be the suffering servant of God; he was predestined to redeem suffering humanity (Is.52:13-53:12). This was his proverbial baptism of fire (Lk.12:49-53). Christ predicted his own martyrdom. He is still a martyr of the war against all unrighteousness and injustice. Christ emptied himself of his reputation, taken down like a common criminal to teach us the virtues of righteousness (Phil.2:7).
However, his baptism of fire has not changed the world. The war against righteousness continues to fragment families, households, society and the world. The incessant increase of human philosophies and ideologues have added to the agony of Christ and his baptism of fire. Once more Paul appeals to us in the same way he appealed to the Romans to make the necessary amends. His appeal to us to become slaves of righteousness demonstrates a clear understanding of the grueling task involved in embracing the kenotic ethics of Christ. It means becoming a victim of the truth like Christ.
Are we prepared for this kind of baptism – especially in our present historical, social, political, economic and religious environment ta is bent on befriending sin? Think twice before we answer. Too often, I believe catholic take their baptism for granted; they are ill-prepared to embrace the challenges necessary to mirror the qualities of Christ. Whatever Christ did to redeem and save us, we can do it too since he commissioned us to be perfect as our heavenly Father (Matt.5:48). More so we are asked to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God (Rom.12:1). This means we must imitate the kenosis of Christ.
Here I am Lord, do with me whatever you will.