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Sunday, March 10, 2013

To become the righteousness of God in Christ

This phrase from St. Paul (Cor 5:17-21) puzzles me. How can we become the righteousness of God? The context is that of having been reconciled to the Father through the Son: we who were estranged from Him are now his sons. But who can be His son who is not righteous as He is? A son inherits the Father's traits beyond mere similarity, so our inheritance must be truly intimate. In our adoption as His sons through Jesus, whose flesh becomes our flesh and whose blood becomes our blood, we truly do become his sons, and thus, we are his righteousness too, in Christ, who is the righteousness of the Father. And this is instrumental in our role as ambassadors of Christ in the same text: we minister reconciliation to the world who is still estranged to the Father, and we can only do that effectively if we ourselves are the message of reconciliation. How? Because we have been reconciled to Him already, and this is the powerful witness that we bring with us. How do we witness to reconciliation? We must therefore be compassionate as the Father, merciful as the Father is -- in short, we must be witnesses of love, peace, forgiveness -- all being characteristics of God who is love. It is therefore paramount that we who bring the message of reconciliation must shown ourselves to live in peace -- not simply the absence of hostilities but also the presence of communion, the communion of saints (both here and in Heaven). In the movie, "Jesus of Nazareth," the actor paraphrases somewhat when he speaks of the greatest commandment, that there is a second that is just as important as the first, the second being to love your neighbor as yourself. How can this be just as important? Because one loves God completely by loving neighbor as oneself. It makes even more sense if you consider your neighbor as another Christ, who said that whatsoever you do to the least of these brethren of his is done to him as well..

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