Scripture Reflection for Sunday, September 14, 2014
by Dave O’Donnell
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” (JN 3:16-17)
This passage for me begs the question: “Who is this Jesus Christ?” Jesus most often when referring to himself in scripture calls himself the Son of Man. Christians call Him the Son of God. I see him as both of those in the role of teacher—best identified as the great emancipator—teaching a practical and spiritual way of life that when implemented in an individual’s life leads to radical freedom.
In the early church before being called Christians by others they called themselves the people of the way. “The way” suggests to me that they recognized they were on a journey to transform their lives as they put into practice the commandments Jesus gave them. These commandments are love God, love your neighbor, do not judge, forgive always, pray for your enemy, pick up your cross daily and follow Jesus.
Doing these, I believe can lead to a radical change in ones life—from sin, fear, compulsions, ego, to a life of freedom and a rebirth in spirit—what St. Paul calls the gifts of the Spirit, peacefulness, generosity, kindness, patience, joy.
I leave behind the curses of the ego, hostility, conflict, jealousy, anger rivalries envy, competitiveness, identifying the other as a problem. What I have discovered is a radical interdependence and identity with the whole. Life is very good when I realize the dance is with everyone. If there is someone out there who wants to kick me in the chins, I believe this insight will equip me to recognize them and be able to stand far enough away so their toe can’t reach my chin. I consider myself a Christian because that message has transformed my life from fear to hope and peace.
We are a community of laymen and laywomen who, with vowed Passionists, seek to share in the charism of St. Paul of the Cross through prayer, ongoing spiritual formation, and proclamation of the message of Christ Crucified.