To grow in the likeness of God about man.

Through Baptism, we received participation in the life of God. But how does God live? What does his life consist of? Jesus Christ told us something about this when he revealed that God is indeed one, but triune. Jesus made visible the goodness and love of the heavenly Father. He lived to the extreme to fulfill the will of his Father to the extreme, to the cross. He also spoke about the Spirit who comes from the Father, who receives everything from Christ and proclaims it to us. God’s Spirit guided Jesus in fulfilling his mission, and Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit.

From these few indications, we can guess that the life of God is the life of individual persons, one for the other. Their relationship is so strong and deep that he is also a living person, the Holy Spirit. From this brief indication of what creates the life of God, we can guess that we, too, as baptized people, are called to cooperate in the growth and development of God’s life in us. This practically means that we develop our relationship with the triune God and our relationships with people and human persons.

We heard about these relationships with people in very specific, practical situations in today’s reading from the Old Testament. These are not easy requests. They require overcoming our egoism, an effort to respect others and do good to them. God challenges us as a motive for such an effort: “Be holy, as I, your God, am holy!” Holiness is God’s perfection. Practically, it means a challenge to grow in likeness to God. We are to express this similarity in our relationships with people.

In the Gospel, Jesus gives us yet another motive for such an effort: The other person, a person in need and suffering in various ways, a person who requires our service and overcoming our egoism, is a person with whom Jesus Christ himself identifies: “What have you done – or they didn’t – to one of these least of mine, you did it to me – or you didn’t.” There can be no stronger motive for doing good to one’s neighbors, for showing love to people. And in his caring love for us, Jesus reveals that these deeds will judge us. Jesus will reward us for manifestations of serving love in our neighbors by accepting us to direct and full participation in the life of the triune God – or, God forbid, exclude us from this participation if we were oblivious to the misery and suffering of people and closed ourselves in our egoism. When we think a little about these words of the Gospel about the last judgment, we realize how little we cooperate with the development of God’s life in us and how, in our daily circumstances, we must increase our efforts for concrete and practical love toward our neighbors – following the example of Christ himself, who loved us to the extreme, to complete self-sacrifice. But this complete self-giving for our salvation out of love for the Father led Jesus, even as a man, to full participation in God’s life at the moment of his resurrection.

Practical instruction: Manifestations of serving, attentive love towards neighbors, motivated by the belief that I am serving Christ himself in them.

Prayer: Merciful God and our Savior, turn our hearts to you and teach our minds with the heavenly doctrine so that we may improve in the Christian life through fasting and repentance. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who is God, lives and reigns with you in unity with the Holy Spirit forever and ever. 

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One Response to To grow in the likeness of God about man.

  1. XRumerTest says:

    Hello. And Bye.

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