From a Creighton Student's Perspective
October 11th, 2008
Senior, Theology and Spanish Major with Concentration in Youth Ministry
In today’s reading, Paul strives to show how Christ, in fulfilling and renewing the law, has opened faith to all people, whether previously within the law or outside of it. In this, it is no longer physical circumcision that distinguishes a believer from a non-believer, but, rather, a spiritual mark on the soul which is received in baptism and which acts as the common identifier between all who have faith in Christ.
Faith has united us. Christ has united us. Though I may not know who they are, where they come from, or how their life story has been written, I know that the student, the aged couple, the parent, or the young child sitting next me at mass shares the same mark on his or her soul that I possess on mine. There is something just completely awing and humbling about that relationship. Still, what does it mean? What was the significance of moving from a very physical and external act, such as circumcision, to a more spiritual, internal, and personal act such as baptism? I believe that the verse that speaks of clothing ourselves with Christ says is all.
When we get dressed in the morning, our attire speaks to who we are as an individual, but also what we belong to as members of society. A Catholic school student puts on his or her uniform as a sign of their education. A fan dons the colors of his or her favorite team. A business person dresses themselves in professional attire to demonstrate their company’s station in the community. As Christians, when we accept Christ into our lives through faith in baptism, we are adorned in white to show our newness of life and our participation in the greater body of believers. Still, we do not wear that white garment everyday. When we select our wardrobe, we do not consciously think of “putting on Christ.” And yet, is not Christ the one who defines us more than our plaid skirts, our blue and white colors, or our ties? Is not Christ the unifying garment of all believers, both internally on our souls and externally in our participation in the greater community? Then how can we wear Him so that all may recognize us for to whom we truly belong?
When we wear Christ, we wrap ourselves in him like a full blanket on a cold day. He consumes our very being and covers every part of us. We find ourselves so enveloped by Him that He shines through us by the glow of our hearts, the warmth of our smiles, and the fire in our eyes. We wear Him when we show our faith in every moment of everyday, in kindness to a stranger, respect for those around us, love for the needy, joy for new life, and comfort in life passed. We wear Him when we truly live what we have heard, taking Christ’s words of hope intentionally in every act, whether at home when we find ourselves surrounded by family, at school when we strive to relate to our peers, or in the workplace when we struggle to find common ground for a better world in cooperation with our colleagues. We wear Him so plainly and so obviously that anyone around us would know first and foremost that that youth, that student, that man, that woman, that person is a Christian. He is our uniform, He is our team colors, He is our business attire, and if we constantly seek to dress ourselves with Him first, we will find nothing but the common ground among us in the way which we shine forth very externally from the internal mark on each of our souls.
This brings to mind two popular phrases-one from a favorite song and one from an anonymous quote, but both convicting challenges for all of us as we strive to live our faith externally for each other and for the world:
“And they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love; yes, they will know we are Christians by our love!”
“Live in such a way that those that know you, but don’t know God, will come to know God because they know you.”
In another words, each morning when you rise, before you even pick
out the day’s outfit, put on Christ first as the most important,
incredible garment you’ll ever wear.
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