Sunday, November 5, on the Epistle of St Paul to Galatians 6:11-18
Again and again we hear the phrase about being crucified to the world, and the world being crucified to us. And, again and again, this phrase might not make too much sense to us. Crucified? To the world?
Christ talks about denying ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him. St Paul mentions today being crucified with Christ and being crucified to the world by the Cross.
This means, basically, rejecting and denying the world. But what is so bad about the world that we have to reject it? What is meant by the “world”?
In the book of Genesis, in the first chapter, as God is creating our world and the whole universe, at the end of each day of creation, it is said that “God saw that it was good.”
“And God saw that the light was good…day one. God saw that all the plants were good…day three. God saw that sun and moon were good…day four…” You get the point. Everything that was created was good, and it was good not simply because God liked it, but because it was good in and of itself. By nature everything was good.
Everything was meant to be good, including the human beings. But, exercising the free will that we all have, the first-created people fell into sin and through sin they let death into this world, and with death came badness, and some of the things that were meant to be good became bad.
While we are not responsible for the ancestral sin, we do live in its aftermath. And we do misuse some of the things that are meant to be good, in a bad way.
When we talk about rejecting and denying the world, we are not talking about bad people – we love, just like Jesus did, both good and bad. And we are not talking about isolating ourselves from everything in the world. Again, God created everything to be good, it’s bad only because we make it so. One of the opportunities we have is to show the big bad world that Christ is good. If we isolate ourselves from the world, we won’t be able to do this.
The world that we are to reject is everything that distracts us from Christ. First and foremost, this is our inner world, our life of sin, our passions and temptations. We reject them, we crucify them, because there is nothing good in them. We crucify our all too human self-praise and pride, they lead nowhere.
This doesn’t mean that we should have no self-esteem. If we are going to be proud of something, let’s be proud of the Cross of Christ, which has always been considered shameful and scandalous to the world.
We also reject and crucify hate, racism, nationalism, immorality, again, anything and everything that distracts us from Christ. I could go on and on with more examples, but I think you get the point.
One important thing to remember – there is only one person we can influence and change – ourselves. Before we go looking outside for what distracts us from following Christ, let’s first look inside. I am sure we can find a lot of bad things that need fixing, a lot of bad things that need to become good again.
Death came into the world through sin, but through the Cross Christ brought in life and salvation. When we crucify ourselves to the world, we put ourselves on the path of salvation. And we can say with St Paul that we bear in our bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus, and it is no longer we who live, but He lives in us.