18 June 2016

CHANGE YOUR CONDUCT OR CHANGE YOUR NAME

XII SUNDAY OF THE YEAR
zechariah 12:10-11, 13:1; galatians 3:26-29; luke 9:18-24

alexander, the great military commander,  took great pride in his army. he would reward courageous soldiers, and severely punish those guilty of disobedience or cowardice. once a young soldier was brought to alexander because he was found guilty of deserting his post.
«what is your name?» asked alexander. the young man replied softly: «alexander, sir.»
«what?» «alexander.»
looking into the young man’s eyes, alexander declared: «soldier, either change your conduct or change your name!»

this might be a legend but it conveys an important truth: we need to live up to our names! now, the name we bear is «christian»! 


what does it mean to be a christian?
in the gospel, JESUS calls us to follow him… the messiah/christ. who is the messiah? JESUS clarifies his identity: given the popular idea that the messiah would be a military and conquering hero, he insists that he must suffer, be rejected, and be killed. he will live up to his identity. and he emphasises that those who chose to follow him would have to suffer for their identity.
in the second reading, st paul gives us a further understanding of what it means to be a christian. through baptism, we have become children of GOD, and have clothed ourselves with christ. we have a new life. this new life has crucial ramifications: divisions—on the basis of ethnicity, of socio-economic status, of gender—cease to exist. we «are all one in christ.»

do i live up to my name and identity: 
do i follow the suffering JESUS by denying myself and carrying my cross?
- do i live like a child of GOD?
- do i live the new life… without making ethnic, socio-economic and gender distinctions to live as «one in christ»?
if not, i have to change my conduct… for i cannot change my name!
may i live up to my name and identity as a christian.