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THURSDAY HOMILY: We Shall Be Like Him For We Shall See Him as He Is

By Deacon Keith Fournier
January 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We shall be like Him as we learn to live in Him and allow Him to live His Life within us and through us. This intimate relationship of communion begins at our own Baptism when He initiates the relationship, and continues daily as we live our lives by faith and respond to grace.

CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - This morning I would like to focus on the promise and invitation contained within the words of the epistle offered at today's Holy Mass:

"See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God's children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure." (1 John 3)

The Christian life can be summed up in one word, relationship. When we are baptized into Jesus Christ we enter into a relationship with the Father, in Him, through the Holy Spirit. We also enter into a relationship with all who are joined to Jesus Christ in His Body, the Church.

This relationship substantively and significantly changes our relationship to all men and women because we are joined, through our membership in His Body, in His ongoing redemptive mission. We are called to live in the heart of the Church for the sake of the world.

We can live in a communion of love with the living and Risen Jesus Christ which is dynamic and transformative. By grace - and our cooperation with it - we are being made new, re-created into His Image and likeness, beginning right now. "We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is" wrote the beloved disciple John.

We shall be like Him as we learn to live in Him and allow Him to live His Life within us and through us. This intimate relationship of communion begins at our own Baptism when He initiates the relationship, and continues daily as we live our lives by faith and respond to grace.

Even as we live in the real world that is corrupted by the effects of sin and filled with all of its imperfection; as we struggle in our own fight against the allure of sin and the reality of evil; we can begin to "see Him as He is" and to become "like Him" through our continued progress in the spiritual life.

As we move toward the Feast of the Epihany, we should contemplate a vital truth concerning our Christian vocation. We are called to become a manifestation, an epiphany of God, in a world that is stumbling along in the darkness of sin. We are invited to renounce sin and embrace a life of sanctity. That is what the call to discipleship and the invitation to holiness is all about. The Christian life is dynamic.

Solid, classical, orthodox Christian theology helps us to understand this deep mystery of God's relationship to us and our relationship to Him. It teaches us that through our baptism we were incorporated into Christ and entered into His Mystical Body which is the Church. This Church is not simply a human congregation but rather a Communion.

We are invited - in the here and now - to live our lives, immersed in God.  The Apostle Peter wrote in his second letter to the dispersed early Christians that we have become "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4). Eastern Christianity, Orthodox and Catholic, speaks of this dynamic process as theosis. The insight the word entails informs the heart and soul of Eastern Christian spirituality.

The invitation to grow into the Image and likeness of God continues daily. Christianity is not simply about meeting Jesus, it is about the complete and total transformation of our lives in Him and, eventually, the transformation of the entire universe as it is made new in Him.

These insights are not meant for only for theologians, they are for you and me as we accept the invitation of the God of the whole universe who came into our midst as one of us in order to free us from sin and bring us into a communion of love. We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is - and as we are becoming.

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