Going Beyond Human Standards
Living Paul's call to live the new vision for humanity in Christ
Today’s second reading is something that you are living every day. This is especially true in this politicized country we are living in.
What he is talking about is we have one group who will tell you they will believe when they see proof that Jesus is the Messiah. Then you have others who seek the truth in the world around them or they deny there is one truth.
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We, he explains, proclaim Christ crucified the power of God and the wisdom of God.
What is he saying for us to use today? We deal with two kinds of people regularly, those who will believe when they see proof that Jesus is the Messiah. They will believe on their terms. There are others who consider the teachings of Christ foolishness the sign of ignorance.
We make a huge mistake when we focus on those two positions. What St. Paul is talking about is something new and different for his time. We lose a sense of the newness of it two thousand years later but it is still new and different compared to the other positions.
Christ—the incarnation of the wisdom of God
We proclaim Christ who is the incarnation of the wisdom of God. This is what St. Thomas Aquinas brings forth as well. So what we see in Christ is beyond the understanding embraced by those who seek signs and those who consider this foolishness.
We are not searching for the truth we found it in Christ. We do not need a sign we found it in Christ. This means we are seeing things from a whole new and powerful perspective that goes beyond the teachings of those who consider this foolishness and who seek signs.
Who are those people today? The Academy and the Civil but secular society. You have members of the academy who tell you that no one needs to believe in Jesus or for that matter any God today. You have members of civil society who dictate what our morality should be.
However, each group comes from a specific perspective of what it means to exist in today’s world. St. Paul is teaching us that our perspective includes everything they say and then goes one step more.
We go beyond the academy and civil society
We take everything we learn from the Academy and bring it to our relationship with Christ to learn how to live to the level of the Academy and then even further. We learn the morality of civil society and learn how to live to the level of civil society and then beyond. So we live to a deeper standard than the other two options. If we live it correctly, we will live as powerful witnesses to the Academy and to Civil Society because we are living a different standard we are living by divine wisdom which goes beyond human wisdom.
Let me give you an example from our politics. Do you want to know what is wrong with our country today? We have two parties that seek to enforce their vision on our society and neither of their visions is compatible with Divine wisdom. They will do what they feel is right with uninspired visions of what they perceive to be the truth.
You and I have a mission to live the truth in a way that goes beyond the uninspired visions of our political parties.
I believe God is calling us even more to live this vision.
How do we do it?
We allow our friendship with Christ to change our whole understanding of what it means to be human and let it permeate us to the point even our values are intensely different than theirs.
If we are truly living our faith then this will happen. We will watch the world and everyone in the world fight to defeat everyone who disagrees with them so that they can be the king of the hill. Meanwhile, our focus will be on serving the one who is already the king of the Hill and do all we can to witness to him and serve him.
Well done my good and faithful servant
If you were to ask me what is the one thing I want more than anything else, I will tell you simply this. At the end of my life, all I want is Jesus to say: “Well done my good and faithful servant.” I don’t care about money, fame, success, honors, etc. The one thing I want is for Jesus to say those words. Therefore, all my decisions are based on that one desire.
That focus has led me to some of the scariest places where I was forced to stand up for my faith and my church, why because I could not justify saying anything if I was going to live my faith to the level I feel called even though that would be the easiest and most comfortable thing to do.
We are living at a difficult time to be Catholic. The easiest and most comfortable thing to do would be to go elsewhere and to do other things. People I worked with in radio years ago retired making six figures or more.
We don’t. Why because Jesus calls us to be His witnesses to the ends of the Earth. He calls us to a greater treasure but in order to receive that treasure, we must do his work here so that the most amount of people will at least understand that they too have the option for that treasure.
St. Paul is reminding us that while the world seeks the truth, we found it in Christ, and in a paraphrase of Robert Frost, our following Christ makes all the difference.
Photo: By Valentin de Boulogne - Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, TX, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=596565