Friday, June 24, 2011
Blog # 157 United in Jesus
Blog # 157 United in Jesus Our union with one another through our union with Jesus in faith and our rebirth in Baptism is identified as more than a mere union of fellowship whereby we give one another support by way of good example, advice, and our prayer for one another as good neighbors or as members of a fraternity or sorority in college might do. As members of the Church we are called and should relate to one another in these ways. But our union with Jesus through faith and Baptism entails more. In Him our union and care for one another is better illustrated by the Biblical image of body and vine. Our care for one another is to be the care of one member of the body for another. A few years ago I saw a TV program that showed how the various immune systems of the body work, how the brain influences so many functions in the body for fighting disease, healing a wound, etc. The program made a deep impression on me. It helped clarify my understanding of the power and implications of the Biblical image of the Body of Christ and Jesus as a living Vine. In the command to love my neighbor as myself I see not a reference to a degree of love, but a love that is uniquely defined by my union with Jesus through faith and Baptism. As the hand cannot say to the foot I have no need of you, so I cannot say to others I have no need of you. My concern for the poor and the sick is to be as the concern of the blood of my body for an infection or wound in my body, no matter where in the body it occurs. And this applies not only to the physically poor and sick but to those spiritually and emotionally poor and sick. And it applies as well to my rejoicing and worshiping our Father with other members of the Body. To share Christ's love then is not an option for Christians. It is part and parcel of our very identity as 'born from above' through faith and Baptism. To love one another" as I have loved you", again, is not referring only to a degreeof our human love in imitation of Jesus' great human love, but with the love of the Resurrected Jesus shared with us in faith. (Jn 15:5; 13:34). This kind of thinking throws new light on our quest for personal salvation and the identity of our holiness. Personal salvation remains a goal of our existence but it is seen as a shared goal. In more than thirty references in John's Gospel Jesus indicates a personal awareness of being sent by the Father. Then in that very powerful text we hear Him say to His disciples:"As the Father has sent me, so I send you." Jesus shares His life and ministry with us! What He was sent to do we are sent to do. And what is this? To love. What is the first commandment? To love. What is the second? To love. "By this will all know you are my disciples, by your love. It follows, our quest for holiness is a quest for the glory of Jesus. For us He died, with us we struggle to conquer evil, in Him we live. Our love is our salvation. Our salvation is His glory.