Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth! You were conceived in your mother’s womb and granted the unearned and unmerited gift of life precisely because God Himself created you and all the gifts, skills, talents and shortcomings you possess. You are an image of our beloved Creator. You are the firstborn of your own lifetime. The baby you were in that first hour of life is not the person you are this day. Rather, you have been given a lifetime. Whatever you decide to do with this one unearned gift of Divine Love, Divine Mercy and Divine Justice is up to you. Are you your own false god? Is either pride, selfishness or even conceit the major drive of your daily living? Or, do you, in the image of Christ reach out to serve your brothers and sisters in need? Do you actually live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in both your words and actions? You know the truth! So do your brothers and sisters. Beloved child of God, do you truthfully live your daily life in the ways of Jesus Christ? Or like all too many men and women, do you make that false claim to be a Christian who spends most of their waking hours in pursuit of worldly trophies, achievements and false gods? You can and should be encouraged to honestly answer these questions regarding your own daily life, the Gospel Message, and HOW seriously and truthfully YOU seek to live out your daily life in the imitation of Christ.
Who is Christ to you? Just to what extent do you root your daily words and actions in the message of the Christ? If we hope to grow in our faith, if we hope to be truthful to our own self, and if we genuinely desire to love our Lord with all one’s heart, mind and soul, then, in fact, you & I, & all who genuinely want to imitate Christ must first & foremost be willing to serve & not to be served. When we are willing to serve others, including the least among us, we will encounter the real presence of Christ. He came as a poor holy child bundled up in cheap cloths, & held in the loving embrace of a poor peasant mother & a hard working carpenter. The Holy Child was born poor and died poor. His greatest wealth had no financial value. Your greatest wealth will never come from your asset/liability ratio. Rather, right there within the very depth of your being rests the Holy Face of Christ. That is the WHY you are here! That is your greatest gift, greatest asset and greatest purpose! Do you choose man’s temporal happiness and idea of success? Or do you choose to succeed by building up the kingdom of God? One is not the other and never can be. Who do you say Christ is? Who are you in relationship to Christ? What does God ask from you this very hour and this passing day? How do you faithfully imitate Christ? What do you sacrifice so that Christ may become more visible and present in the lives of others? Do you allow your old self to die to Christ in order for your new self to rise up in the greater presence and imitation of our dear Lord? Pray and be willing to change in ways everlasting. Be true to our Lord. Where life takes you, may our dear Lord always be present to you. Seek, ask and search, for you owe yourself the greater fullness of truth. Lastly, may you and all people be at peace with one-another and our dear Lord. AMEN.
-Fr. Michael Briese