The second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, reminded us that in Christ we who were dead (by consequence of Adam’s sin) now live. If we are in Christ.
The love of Christ overwhelms us when we reflect that if one man has died for all, then all men should be dead; and the reason he died for all was so that living men should live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised to life for them.
From now onwards, therefore, we do not judge anyone by the standards of the flesh. Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now. And for anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation; the old creation has gone, and now the new one is here.
2 Corinthians 5:14-17
Notice how Paul says that when he realises what he is saying, he is overwhelmed not by fear or dread but love. The fundamental truth is we are saved. Even when we were sinners. Even though we still are.
However, (sorry, Mr Gove! Or am I?), salvation takes root as we recognise that Jesus is not an optional extra to an ‘entry-level’ life, a sort of upgrade; still less a style choice, but he is the difference between life and death for us.
- One ancient spiritual exercise is to contemplate our death, and consider the sort of epitaph we might receive, the words people might say about us as they gather for our funeral (should they gather…) You might give it a try.
- Or you might attempt a brief apologia – an account of how you live and try to live. Take today, for example. Where did you choose life and reject death?
Image of graves in Kensal Green cemetery, London. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.