The Heavenly Call, The Eternal Embrace
March 29, 2022
This coming Sunday’s second reading, Philippians 3:4-14, is a powerful one.
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.
Allow me to try to summarize some of what Saint Paul may be telling us. Jesus is God incarnate, come to us. In this divine encounter, Jesus awakens in us a desire to know Him (not simply about Him) and to belong to Him. He pours forth His love, divine love—even in our suffering. If Christ is risen, then He suffers no more. “The sharing of his sufferings” of which Saint Paul speaks, must then be the sufferings of the members of His Body, the Church, our own suffering, which, if a special place to receive God’s love, can be a pathway to heaven.
We all carry burdens and scars. But looking back too much serves little purpose. Indeed, our encounter with Christ, always in the present, ought keep us from dwelling on the past. We are to “strain forward to what lies ahead, the prize of the heavenly call”, which is the fullness of divine love in God’s eternal embrace. We already experience this love in the depths of our hearts, even in our suffering. One day, the love will definitively triumph.
Yours on this Lenten journey,