theROCK

Results filtered by “Holiness”

Our Superhero

main image

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! This sounds like a title for a superhero.  Jesus is our superhero!  In Dn. 7:1314, powerful language and strong adjectives are used that demonstrates a power and majesty that one would expect from a superhero:

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;  all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

In Revelations 1:5-8, Jesus is describe as "the faithful witness.” Being a faithful witness implies that He is not forefront and dominant but more supportive. In John 18:33-37, Jesus is shown as powerful and confident, but completely humble. There is a contrast to Jesus that challenges what it means to be a superhero by modern standards. Jesus doesn’t fight. Jesus doesn’t boast. Jesus doesn’t argue. Fighting, boasting, and arguing are all things that we would expect a superhero to do when confronting an enemy. We would expect a superhero to fight back against the tyranny and misguided justice being demonstrated at this point in the story.

Not our superhero! Jesus does exactly what He has taught us to do. He models surrender. He models dignity. He models integrity. Jesus participates in His trial, taking in stride all that He is being subjected to because He knows it is the will of the Father. He rises to the occasion in a manner that results in a much greater reward than what would have occurred had He fought back. He exudes a power and might beyond human understanding. Indeed, He did fight back by subjecting Himself to the wood of the cross. His defense was to succumb, thus dominate over all. Death gained reward, a reward of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Isn’t that what a superhero does, lays down their life to save others? Let’s give a triumphant cheer for Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!

 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe! The feast day today sounds like the introduction for a superhero.  Jesus is our superhero, especially when watching the progression of how He is described from the first reading, to the second reading, to the gospel. The first reading uses very powerful language and strong adjectives that demonstrates a power and majesty that one would expect from a superhero:

As the visions during the night continued, I saw one like a Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven; when he reached the Ancient One and was presented before him, the one like a Son of man received dominion, glory, and kingship;  all peoples, nations, and languages serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, his kingship shall not be destroyed.

The second reading starts to change the tone a little. While it references phrases from the first reading, the lead sentence, “Jesus Christ is the faithful witness,” shifts perspective. No longer is the Son of Man exuding power as we would expect from a superhero, but more of the humility that is indicative of the sidekick.  Being a faithful witness implies that He is not forefront and dominant but more supportive. This is a curious shift as the Gospel then shows Jesus powerful and confident, but completely humble. There is a contrast to Jesus that challenges what it means to be a superhero by modern standards. Jesus doesn’t fight. Jesus doesn’t boast. Jesus doesn’t argue. Fighting, boasting, and arguing are all things that we would expect a superhero to do when confronting an enemy. We would expect a superhero to fight back against the tyranny and misguided justice being demonstrated at this point in the story.

Not our superhero! Jesus does exactly what He has taught us to do. He models surrender. He models dignity. He models integrity. Jesus participates in His trial, taking in stride all that He is being subjected to because He knows it is the will of the Father. He rises to the occasion in a manner that results in a much greater reward than what would have occurred had He fought back. He exudes a power and might beyond human understanding. Indeed, He did fight back by subjecting Himself to the wood of the cross. His defense was to succumb, thus dominate over all. Death gained reward, a reward of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Isn’t that what a superhero does, lays down their life to save others? Let’s give a triumphant cheer for Jesus Christ, King of the Universe!

 

Keeping Vigilant

main image

The Gospel of Mark 13:24-32, begins the Adventen turn toward the End Times and the Second Coming of Christ. It is a passage that carries no warm and fuzzy messages, but rather messages of warning. We do not know the day nor the hour when this life will end and we will come face-to-face with our Maker. Are you ready to make an account for your life?

This passage reminds us to keep ourselves vigilant, ready at any moment to face judgment. It reminds us of our true priorities: all that belongs to this world will pass away. It is only Christ that remains. Do I live my life in a way that embodies the eternal nature of Christ, but the fleeting nature of worldly goods?

Furthermore, it is not just our salvation that we work for. As part of the Body of Christ, we are also called to work for the salvation of others. As we are reminded with the Feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we are not isolated beings pursuing holiness, we are part of a communion of saints. We belong to each other. How are you praying for those around you? How are you sacrificing so that they might come to know Christ or deepen their relationship with Him? Do you notice people missing at Mass? People who used to come? What are you, personally, doing to invite them back to Mass?

We do not know the day nor the hour when Christ will come again. Nor do we know the day nor the hour when our individual life on earth will end. But we do know eternal life awaits us. Let us live our lives in such a way that we get there, and bring as many people with us as possible!

Transformation and Conversion

main image

Over my years in ministry, I have heard many different interpretations for why we take up practices of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving during Lent. I’ve heard that we take up these practices for the sake of suffering as Jesus suffered. Another common theme is that we do these practices as a form of penance for our sinfulness, or that we take on these practices as a kind of personal testing, as Jesus was tested in the wilderness, to see if our faith holds up. The list goes on.

While there is some element of truth in each of these interpretations, what they lack is that they often make the practices ends in themselves. We suffer for the sake of suffering, or undergo a test for the sole purpose of saying we did it.

But the Gospel for today shows us what we are truly aiming for: transfiguration, transformation. This passage from Mark is widely understood as a revelation of the true reality of the crucifixion—that what on the face of it looks to be gory destruction, is actually the glorification of Jesus Christ. So too, our Lenten practices are not meant to be just brutal sacrifices for the sake of brutal sacrifice; they are meant to be transformative. They are meant to bring about the glory of God through our own transfiguration. The goal of Lent is not suffering, it is conversion. We too are meant to be “dazzling white.”

So this Lent, may we keep this perspective as we strive and struggle to hold fast to our resolutions. May we remember the ultimate goal is conversion, and allow the Lord to use our successes and failures to lead us closer to Christ and make us more Christian, more Christ-like.

Previous123