What impels you? Saint Paul uses this word today in his letter to the Corinthians; it is a word that means “driving force” or “something that urges us to do something”. If a reporter were to stand on a street corner in today’s world with a camera and a mic and ask passersby, what is it that impels you or what is it that motivates you? The answers we would hear would be something like, success, power, winning, money, getting to the top, health, quality of life etc. I wonder what the reporters reaction would be if someone were to say, “My driving force or motivation for life is to die.” The reporter would probably think the person was out of his mind and the person would be out of his mind, because those that die to self and live for Christ are ‘out of their minds in love with Christ.’ Today’s reading from 2nd Corinthians begins with the 14th verse of Chapter 5, but if we were to go back to the 13th verse we would read. “For if we are out of our minds, it is for God; if we are rational it is for you.” For the love of Christ impels us”. Isn’t that our desire as Christians, to be out of our minds in love with Christ? When we die to self we become a new creation, old things pass away and new things come to life. Everything is shiny and new.
Everything in today’s world has a shelf life, there is nothing of and in itself that will last forever, but through Christ we all become new and we become immortal, through faith we have hope to live forever in heaven with Christ. Consider how we would feel if God would show us our expiration date and let us suppose that the date was in the near future. Would we continue to live the way we are living today or would we change a few things? Would we die a little more to self and live more for Christ? The great Saint and Doctor of the Church Augustine said, “To fall in love with God is the greatest romance to seek him the greatest adventure to find him the greatest human achievement.” When we find him we have no choice but to follow him.
Today’s Gospel reading is appealing to the 8th Commandment, “do not bear false witness against your neighbor, let your yes mean yes and your no mean no. “The truthfulness of this commandment should be what impels us in this life we live, to speak the truth always and to walk humbly with our God because when we find him it is the greatest human achievement that we could ever accomplish. So let us all be impelled by the love of Christ so that we may have the conviction that he indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
Deacon James Anderson is the Administrator at Holy Name Passionist Retreat Center in Houston, Texas.