Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary 478. Ephesians 4: 7-16. Psalm 122:1-2,3-4,4-5. Luke
Reaching physical maturity is a painful and for many a mysterious process
of growth. We sometimes refer to them as "growing pains." This happens
mostly in our teens and just before we reach our full growth into young
women or men. Our human development continues in other avenues of our
lives and among them is spiritual growth. It too has growing pains. We
become aware of this "grace building on nature" when we undergo our first
conversion experience maybe during the participation in a Eucharist or in
the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Unlike our physical growth, we are able to
discern this essential part of our maturity by discernment, the forming of
a good and healthy behavior, and by participating in the worship and
prayers of the Church.
The first call of the Gospel made by Jesus is the wake-up call to start
maturing: "Reform your lives and believe in the Good News (the Gospel)."
This is the first call in Mark 1:14 given to us by Jesus himself. The word
that is used for the reform of self and growth into maturity in the
spiritual life and in the following of Jesus as his disciples is the often
repeated word "metanoia". This Greek word comes from the verb metanoien
which literally means to have a change in one's heart, to turn from one's
sins, or to change one's ways. A retreat movement usually for high school
students is called Metanoia. That is a good word for a retreat and it is a
good way of looking at the process of maturation in the following of Jesus
or in our spiritual life. The stages of life move us on to new experiences
of growth and hence we are in a constant process of metanoia.
St. Paul has some helpful insights that support this call to reform, renew,
repent. He puts it into the language of our growth into being another
Christ, an "alter Christus." Paul urges us to come to the full stature of
Christ or ultimate maturity as a disciple and as a Christian. This is a
tall task and we need the help of the Holy Spirit to grow into this
fullness of Christ. We are to show the truth of our metanoia or spiritual
growth by our love for others in the Body of Christ. We are to grow
together into the full maturity of Christ the head of the Body his Church
(that means ourselves). "Through Jesus the whole body grows, with proper
functioning of the members joined firmly together by each supporting
ligament building itself up in love." (Ephesians 4:15-16). Amen.
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