Homily Notes: Christianity is not a change of uniform, but a change of heart

Galatians 2:16-20
St. Matthew 22:45-46; St. Mark 8:34-9:1

Today, Christ tells us that the most important commandment is; “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.

Is this even possible?  It may not be.  After all, Christ also said that;

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven”…

Why so hard? You may not think it is… if so, I refer back to “It is easier…”  (and yes, all of qualify as rich!  History of wealth.)

Soldiers vs. mercenaries. Not about skills; its about the identity and the team.  Afghan example.

Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.”

Self denial? It goes against so much of our culture! We make Christianity theraputic, a resource for possible answers; rather than a continual challenge to love God and neighber FOR THEMSELVES and not for our own gain or therapy.

St. Paul got it.  Today he told us about his life; 

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

We need to be able to say the same thing. Not that we have accessorized with Christian ritual and words; but that it really is He who lives in us.

And that takes a continual denial of the self and giving of the self to Christ, to the love of God, and to the service of our neighbor. It takes training the will to be single-minded in pursuit of Christ and Christian perfection. It takes asceticism. A life’s work of fasting, sacraficial giving, prayer, and service to others.

The reward?

Peace in the midst of war. Contentment in the midst of deprivation. Joy in the midst of sorrow. A love and fullfillment that cannot be taken away because it is grounded in and protected by the very One who made the heavens and the earth. The One that is above all presidents, tyrants, thugs, demons, and heavenly powers.

Because though we are immersed in sin, though we are, on our own, no more that dust and ashes, God desires to adopt us into His immortal, loving, and perfect family through His Son Jesus Christ.  Give your life to Him now, and renew that offering every moment with every breath.