I would like you to think of a unique element in our second reading that applies to the gospel.
Let us look at it.
The first temptation and the one that is strongest among humans is: You will be like gods. Well, what are gods looking for: glory, stature, power, and people to subject to themselves.
Now notice not only Paul’s description of Jesus in the second reading but Our Lord’s action in the Gospel.
He does the opposite.
Jesus humbles Himself in reverse of Adam who tries to deify himself
Though he was in the form of God, he did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at, but he humbled himself becoming like a slave.
So he does not try to be like a God although he is God, he humbles himself as a servant.
His whole focus, we discussed earlier, is to be obedient to the Father. Remember this is the opposite of what Adam and Eve sought and they were disobedient in the interest of being like gods.
However, Jesus subjects his will to the Father’s will, he becomes an agent for the salvation of all.
He acts in a way that glorifies the father for the salvation of his creatures. He does not glorify himself. It is the father who glorifies him.
Because he does this, he becomes the source of our salvation and through him, we have eternal life.
However, do not miss this: He humbles himself, does the will of the father, that we may be saved.
Original sin leads us to act like Adam; Baptism calls us to act like Jesus
What is it that we have a natural inclination to do: Original sin makes us seek to become like gods. One of the great drawbacks to the misuse of technology is doing exactly that. What is the whole issue with the image of big brother? The human society through technology becomes like gods—the pagan image of gods—all-powerful and omniscient. It will glorify those it likes and destroy those it does not.
What is it that Jesus demonstrates for us to do? Virtually, the exact opposite. We become humble ourselves renounce our desire to become like gods and seek to do the will of the one true God for the benefit of all humanity.
This is what Jesus says. However, he also warns if we are to do his will, then we will follow in his footsteps. We will humble ourselves or be humbled if we seek to do the will of God. If we allow this to happen in our lives, we will bear much fruit for those around us. If, however, we seek the status and glory that those acting like the pagan gods sought then we will bear fruit for no one.
Jesus’ resurrection is the fruit of his giving up his own will for the will of the father. He gave up his own will which led to his death
When we seek as church seek not glory but the humility of Christ, we become a powerful force of grace to humanity.
When we as the Catholic Church seek and demand to be treated as agents of God, we become humbled by our creator who sees no need for competition. That is because the more we seek glory for ourselves or even the Church as an institution, the less we can do the will of God.
We must do the same in our own lives.
The husband and wife who seek to do the will of God in their own lives, for each other and the children and community will bear much fruit.
The friends who pursue holiness through their friendship will lead others to salvation
However, the career climber who puts his own success over the vocation to which Christ calls him may attain that success but will later find all the fruit he did not bear that he or she could have.
The common good versus the political good
One of the greatest problems happening in our society is we as a society are not seeking the common good but the political good.
We cannot seek the common good if our main focus is doing what party loyalty demands us to do whether that loyalty is demanded by the political association, through our career choice, through a union we might belong to, or through our political aspirations. It is then that the greatest good for society is not what we seek but the demands of the party through the union or our company. That even happens in our church. People controlled by what will lead them to success in the organization will not seek the common good but what the organization demands for its approval.
However, if people seek to do what Christ leads us to do, seek the common good, this may put them at odds with the organization or party or even body within the church but it will lead them to do the greatest service for those around them, including for the organization, the union, the party or even the body within the Church.
The hero seeks the greatest good for all. He or she rarely goes along with everyone else but seeks a greater good. Jesus although he was in the form of God sought to do the will of the Father—the greatest good.
The true hero seeks to do the will of the Father in loving others. Sometimes that may put him or her at odds with society or even the Church. Look up blessed Franz Jaggerstatter for example. However, as long as he or she is doing the will of the Father the person will bear much fruit. The ones who seek to do the will of the group for their own glory are never the hero.
Jesus humbled himself that all may be saved.
Which path do you take, the one that leads to your greatest earthly success or the one that leads to your greatest heavenly success in your life or the lives of others?
During this holy week reflect on where you can seek more to do the father’s will and see what you learn needs to change.
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