Committing to the Gospel – Reflection for 16 SEP 2018
If we are to grow in our commitment to the Gospel, yielding to the power of the Gospel of Christ to transform us and to transform the way we see others, we must first understand the Gospel. As easy as it seems at first try to define the Gospel, we soon run into a variety of descriptions and realize why there are four complementary books of the Bible that are characterized as Gospels.
I invite you to pause before reading further and attempt to summarize the Gospel of Christ as you understand it. As we sort through these descriptions and try to define and describe the Gospel, we must first remember that the Gospel is “Good News.”
At the heart of any description of the Gospel is a loving God who reconciles Himself with His unloveable creatures through Jesus Christ. The tragedy of the Gospel is that as unloveable creatures, we often choose to remain unreconciled. We either try in vain to make ourselves loveable or we try in vain to find a love like God’s in things that are not God.
The transforming power of the Gospel is simple and yet takes us a lifetime to master. We grow in the Gospel as we set aside the false ways in which we try to feel loved and the false ways we try to be loveable. We grow in the Gospel as we rest in the Gospel truth that we are beloved by God. We grow in the Gospel as we see those around us as beloved. We grow in the Gospel as we set aside our attempts to determine whether others are loveable or not. We grow in the Gospel when we set aside our empty attempts to use others to make ourselves feel loved.
As a congregation formed (and transformed) by liturgy and Sacrament, we don’t have to look far for a good summary of the Gospel. We hear this summary each week in the Prayer of Consecration as we pray, “Holy and gracious Father: In your infinite love you made us for yourself; and when we had sinned against you and become subject to evil and death, you, in your mercy, sent your only Son into the world for our salvation. By the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary he became flesh and dwelt among us. In obedience to your will, he stretched out his arms upon the cross and offered himself once for all, that by his suffering and death we might be saved. By his resurrection he broke the bonds of death, trampling Hell and Satan under his feet. As our great high priest, he ascended to your right hand in glory, that we might come with confidence before the throne of grace.” We participate in the ongoing story of the Gospel as we encounter Christ in the Eucharist. We are then sent out to live the Gospel throughout the week.
However, as the Disciples discovered in today’s Gospel reading, something more is require for us to know true healing in ourselves and to bring the healing power of the Gospel with us into the world. We must also be committed to prayer.