Take a Look Above

September 13, 2017  Wednesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Mark J. Poletunow, Malvern President (mpoletunow@malvernretreat.com)

Click for: Readings for the day (From the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops)

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Colossians (3:1-11)

Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.

Because of these the wrath of God is coming upon the disobedient.
By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way.
But now you must put them all away:
anger, fury, malice, slander,
and obscene language out of your mouths.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,

which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

Reflect: Think of what is above and not what is on earth. It is easy for us to be consumed with what is on earth. We all have responsibilities that need to be completed, and we are inundated at nearly every minute with the next bit of news or supposed life-changing opportunity. Easily, we can be swayed from one thing to the next, from one false promise to another. Saint Paul tells the Colossians as well as us today to get a grip; to consider what is really important because of our baptism. Christ calls us to something much more: “where immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry” have no place. So Saint Paul exhorts us to put away “anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language” as well as to “stop lying to one another.” If we have genuinely put on Christ in baptism, then our focus is on the things of the Kingdom of God. Even with our earthly responsibilities, our perspective can be one of walking with and reflecting Christ in all that we do. May our “new self” in Christ prevail in every circumstance of life. By living thus, we “will appear with him in glory!”

Questions: Where is my focus and what are my priorities? Do I want to make an impact with my life as a person alive in Christ or as someone immersed in the things of this world? Ultimately, am I motivated by experiencing all the things of this world or by eternal life with Christ?

Pray: Loving God, you have made me a new creation formed in your image and likeness. Help me to be faithful to you by living a life that lifts you up, that honors you in all of my words, actions, thoughts, desires and decisions.  I pray this in the powerful and perfect name of Jesus. Amen.

Saint John Chrysostom: Pray for us!

John was born in 349. He was well educated and chose, in his early years, to live a life of contemplation meditating on the Holy Scriptures. He was called to the priesthood in Antioch and later as Bishop of Constantinople. So dynamic was his preaching and writing on the application of scripture to every day life that he was nicknamed “golden mouthed.” He defended the poor, sought to reform the clergy, and was twice exiled due to royal opposition. He was a prolific writer on ascetical, apologetic, and polemic treatises, as well as letters to his people. He is one of the four great doctors of the Eastern Church and patron of preachers.  John died in 407.

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