On Sunday, the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, we heard a passage from Galatians.
There Paul identified the cross, the Passion, of Jesus as the sole thing of which he can boast. It is the cross that has won everything that matters; and on the cross that everything else is done to death.
The only thing I can boast about is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. It does not matter if a person is circumcised or not; what matters is for him to become an altogether new creature. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, who form the Israel of God.
I want no more trouble from anybody after this; the marks on my body are those of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, my brothers. Amen.
It is, in worldly terms, a stark messsage. And it is a statement that is deliberately provocative and needs much unpacking.
But Paul uses it to boast of his identification with Christ, his being remarkably at one with him, even bearing the marks of Jesus on his very body.
- Where/how do you resemble Jesus?
- Where do you not?
- How might you more closely identify your ambitions and achievements with the Cross of Jesus?
Street art, Arles, France. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.