1 John 2:3-11
"This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to walk just as he walked." – 1 John 2:3-11
If you ask a Passionist: "How can we walk as Jesus walked? He or she will more than likely unequivocally respond: "through the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ!" It is hard saying for most of us to hear, yet one that right now thousands of men and women respond to every single day of their lives. I write not just about our vowed women and men who have dedicated their lives to proclaim this saving message and way of Christ to the entire world. I write also about the varied and various men and women, scattered all over the earth, who awake every morning, embrace their cross and walk in union with Christ, who upholds them and sustains them when they think they can go no further. Most do not wear the sign of the Passion on their clothing like our religious, but they do bear the sign of Christ’s Passion on their hearts!
Just as Jesus is revealed to Simeon in Luke’s Gospel today as a sign to be contradicted, so too is the way Christ walked itself a sign of contradiction. It is not always a pleasant walk. Realistically there are times when the walk is painful and confusing. There may even be times when we veer off the path and need that "revealing light" to lead us back to where we belong.
What we celebrate this Christmas season is that we do not walk the path alone. The light is always present if we have the eyes to see it. The light is Emmanuel, which means, "God is with us." The miracle of Christmas focuses on the fact that God became one of us, to share in our life’s journey…all of our life, not just the pleasant parts of the journey, but the unpleasant as well.
The wonderful gift that the Passionist Community has shared with me repeatedly is that it is only in embracing my life, including my cross, that I can fully realize God’s life for me and love for me in total. It is not always an easy gift for me to accept, and it may need to be a gift accepted repeatedly in various times and various situations; yet it is wonderful gift that gives life ultimate meaning and hope.
Moreover, it is this Christmas gift from the Passionist Community for which I am truly grateful.
Patrick Quinn ([email protected]) is the director of Planned Giving at the Passionist Development Office in Chicago.