Today’s Thoughts: The reading from St. Paul’s Letter to Titus seems to be answering the following questions: What does a Christian look like? How does a Christian act? How does one recognize a follower of Christ?
Whether we are young or old, female or male, we hear from St. Paul a description of the “ideal Christian.” We need to loo past the cultural disconnect that it seems to present to us and see it as a challenge to all of us, female or male, old or young. The best news is the last sentence, which begins, “For the grace of God has appeared….” We might tend to get absorbed in the earlier descriptions of conduct, examining our own behavior, wondering if we fulfill requirements. “I’m pretty good at this; that’s one of my faults; I always struggle with that.” However, if this is what we focus on then we are missing the good news here.
Behavior and attitudes, external changes, are all results of the transformation we have experience when we open our hearts and welcome God’s grace. They are the outcome of the internal changes we make because of our relationship with God. We seem to have gotten the message turned around. We focus on our behavior and berate ourselves for wrong actions, mis-steps and faults. We always seem to be trying to “fix” the outside, to re-shape ourselves to fit the ideal image, to make sure we “measure up”, rather than allowing God’s grace to continually permeate us, transforming us from the inside.
The Gospel reading further develops the value of this grace. The good that we do, the ways we help and serve each other, all the ways we give of ourselves and our gifts – we do this not in expectation of some reward, but because this is now our nature. This is who we are, transformed in Christ! Again, somewhere along the way we turned this around to thinking we will like ourselves better, and feel better about ourselves, if we act in the ways that get us the rewards of recognition, praise, status, a raise, or whatever else we think motivates us. Our transformed life is the reward! It is not external to us, not a fleeting feeling or transient title or trophy.
Today. let us love the Lord with our whole heart and God will do the rest.
Have a great Tuesday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...