August 2020 Reflection

Dear Sisters and Brothers:

Glory to Jesus Christ!

I dearly love the great "Hymn of Self-Emptying Love” (kenosis) in St. Paul’s Letter to the Church at Philippi. So much so, that you have heard me quote it many times many times in sermons. It seems to me that this is the very heart of what the Christian life is supposed to be about. Can there be any greater thing than to, “Have this mind in you that was also in Christ Jesus...” ? (Phil 2:5)

Cynthia Bourgeault speaks of kenosis as the narrow path and the eye of the needle. The question is, “How far are we willing to go with this?” Are we willing to pour out our lives as Christ did for the sake of others? Are we willing to stop judging people, relatives, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and enemies and to count their welfare as more important than our own? Are we willing to share all that we have with those who have little? Are we willing to die to ourselves? That is, in part at least, the narrow gate that leads to life.

It is interesting to me that the simple and reasonable call to wear masks has revealed disturbing truth: we have fallen for a lie. We believe that the welfare of others must take a backseat to our own comfort while a popular meme speaks of the need to safeguard individual rights. We do not recognize that there is one humanity, united in nature, sharing the same life, the same needs, the same desires, the same joys, and the same sorrows. We are our brother's and sister’s keepers simply because our brother and sister are our self.

The arbiter of truth here is not the Constitution, but the heart. Not logic, but compassion. God not government. If we follow the life of Christ, then there is no length we will not go to ensure the welfare of others. Wearing a mask is such a small thing that can do something miraculous. It can save lives.

This calls for a radical reordering of our very consciousness so that it mirrors the consciousness of God revealed in Christ Jesus. "Be transformed by the renewal of your mind." St Paul tells the Church of Rome. In other words, let go of the selfish, egocentric mind of this world and allow a new mind to grow. Take up the Cross, accept the call to kenosis, and do it with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.

With deep affection,

Fr. Antony