Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

February 12, 2012

Daniel Ramirez

3rd Year Law Student

Lv 13:1-2, 44-46
Ps 32:1-2, 5, 11
1 Cor 10:31-11:1
Mk 1:40-45

In today’s second reading, Paul’s letter to the Corinthians asks us to wholeheartedly devote ourselves to the glory of God and to the service of our neighbors. We are to do this without consideration of our neighbor’s religion or other socially defining labels. Of course, Paul is writing to a group of newly converted Christians from the Jewish and pagan faiths. Perhaps these new Christians had begun to ostracize, shun, or even persecute their neighbors that were not Christian. Paul says to “avoid giving offense” to those who are different from you as it does not serve you, your faith, or the Church. Paul says, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

The message that he gives us today could not be more important for the faithful. Our Christian spirituality is defined by imitating Christ in every private prayer as well as every interaction within our communities. It is the goal of our prayer; the destination of our actions; the ideal of grace-seeking Christians.  Yet, what groups of people, even in private thought, do I find myself biased against? How often do I write-off another person or group of people because they are different than I am? Our culture is saturated with belief-systems that promote cutting ties or diminishing service to others who are different from us. Of course, when we separate others from our own creed, it is easier to persecute that separated person and more difficult to love them. For that reason we marginalize people for belonging to a different faith group, supporting a rival political party, having little or simply different education, suffering from a particular disease or addiction, making a life-mistake or a series of poor judgments, or simply being in a relationship popularly deemed unacceptable. We are called to serve the diverse peoples of the world with an equal and overflowing love. I have located several of my own personal biases, even unspoken misgivings of another, where I can and must improve my Christian behavior.

Imitating Christ is a tall order for all Christians; for all people. Paul’s message to the Corinthians gives us a chance to refresh our commitment to Christ, the Corporal Works of Mercy, and to the needs within our community while locating the deficits in our own practice of finding God in all things (AND people). I don’t know where the quote comes from, but I have heard or seen it various places in my life and find it to be a reliable compass to direct in my own faith journey: “Who have I put on the Cross? Who must I take down from the Cross?” The answer should always be the same for both questions.
Humans continue to put their fellow humans on the cross every day. It is our duty, completed by willful imitation of Christ’s love, to take them down. 

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