September 23, 2023
from above

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From above or from below? Maybe today, spend a little bit of time just thinking about the love and mercy of God. And ask God to change your lives, to change your hearts, to change your soul, so that you can have a loving and powerful relationship with Him.

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from above
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From Above

Transcript (A New Feature!)

Each time we record something, we will provide a transcript of the recording. Enjoy!

Hello and welcome to Spend Five with Jesus for this Wednesday, September 13th, 2023. I am the Friar and it is wonderful to have you with us today.

Today we celebrate Saint John Chrysostom, who really was just an eloquent speaker. In fact, the name Chrysostom really means golden tongue. He was that effective, that engaging, that convincing.

And I think today’s reading kind of speaks a little bit about what his task was on one level and reminds us of what our lives need to be about as well. It’s a tough thing sometimes to keep our attention focused in the right direction and on the right things and that’s what Paul is talking about today in his letter to the Colossians.

“If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above.” Now what does that mean to be raised with Christ? Well, namely, it is to be baptized, to be a beloved son or daughter of Jesus Christ, which raises us, elevates us, to become beloved sons or daughters of God.

And that is something that is really good. We need to be raised with Christ. It’s an important characteristic for us because Christ is seated then at the right hand of God. And so we’re challenged then to focus our attention not so much on just the day-to-day stuff that we do need to do, but more importantly to direct our eyes, to direct our attention, to focus our life on what is above. As a matter of fact, this contrast between above and below is one that is quite familiar, particularly in the Gospel of John.

You might remember that stretch where Jesus and Nicodemus are talking about being born again, whereas Jesus is talking about being born from above. Now I don’t speak Aramaic, but I’m told that the words for “above” and “again” are very similar in Aramaic, and so it’s kind of a play on words.

But it is really interesting to us because in that same gospel, when the temple curtain is torn in two, it’s torn from above to below. It’s oftentimes translated from top to bottom, but it really is above to below. And it’s an indication that the death of Christ was so powerful it ripped us under the connections between heaven and earth, and then ultimately restored them. And that’s what we celebrate.

So where are your eyes today? Well, if you need some kind of way of measuring, well how am I doing with looking from above? Paul doesn’t leave that to chance. In fact, he He talks about the things that we need to put away, those earthly things that are not helpful to us in developing this relationship with Jesus. They’re not the kinds of things that are in fact going to be effective for us.

So what does he mention? Immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, an agreed that is idolatry. We also must put away anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language. need to stop lying to one another, and we need to take all these old practices and remove them. And that’s really the challenge, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, but at least some of those things on the list I find kind of continue to be a part of my life again and again, even though I have been raised in Christ because I’ve been baptized.

The beauty though of our relationship with Jesus is that it is not just that we need to avoid these things and Jesus will love us. Jesus will love us. And precisely because we often don’t avoid these things, and because Jesus loves us, we have the invitation to God’s mercy and forgiveness. When we sincerely desire to allow Christ to change our lives, we receive His mercy and His forgiveness. And that is absolutely beautiful. It is absolutely tremendous.

Maybe today, spend a little bit of time just thinking about the love and mercy of God. And ask God to change your lives, to change your hearts, to change your soul, so that you can have a loving and powerful relationship with Him.

On the friar, you can listen to our homilies (based on the readings of the day) and reflections. You can also ask us to pray for you or to pray for others. You can subscribe to our website to be informed whenever we publish an update.

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