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July 5, 2020

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are all familiar with the refrain, “You have put on Christ. In him you have been baptized. Alleluia, alleluia!” In Baptism, we “put on” Christ. In putting on Christ, we put on all that Christ is and represents: hope, faith, and love. We are no longer bound to the sins and failures of the flesh, that part of us that resists God and relies exclusively on human means. It also means that we are not in debt to our past, complete with its sins, failures, regrets, fears, and unfulfilled dreams. There is always hope. In putting on Christ, we put on God’s vision for the world, for all of His children and for us. We have been given a road map to guide our paths and a blueprint to follow for our life’s journey.

There is no need for regret, and we are not tethered to our past. Is there anything in your past that you regret? Any decision or memory that continues to haunt you? We have all made mistakes, and we have this uncanny ability to continue beating ourselves up over things we can no longer do anything about, except learn from them. To put on Christ means that I can now bring God’s unconditional love to my hurtful memories and sinful choices. With each new moment and every new choice, I can start clean and live in freedom.

Imagine adults when the disciples were preaching and baptizing. They came to baptism not really knowing who they were, with pasts that were broken, seeking to live the joy of the Gospel they heard spoken to them and wanting the love they saw witnessed in the lives of those who believed. What tremendous celebrations their baptisms must have been! They could now have the support of a community, full participation in the sacraments of the church, focus for their disordered lives, consolation, healing, and an understanding of what life is really all about.

Our lives are meant to be celebrations of the Spirit we have received in Baptism. How does that joy get expressed in and through you? When we truly understand that we have put on Christ, our burdens can become much lighter. It is odd that so many Christians look like they are carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those weights could be lifted and joy experienced!

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