The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Galatians 2:16-20
In St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians he writes “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ Who lives in me;.” We often hear St. Paul speak in this way but I wonder how often we actually let those words marinate and really sink in to our heart.
When St. Paul says that he has been crucified with Christ, what is he talking about? St. Paul was not crucified with Christ. Had he been crucified with Jesus Christ he would not have been able to write these words or any of the other epistles that he wrote. When St. Paul speaks about being crucified with Christ he is writing about the mystery of baptism. This is the baptism that each of you have also received. Now whenever we read these words we should also be able to say with St. Paul “I have been crucified with Christ”!
If we really think about it, we should be honored that we can say that we have been crucified with Our Lord God and savior Jesus Christ. Through baptism we are allowed to share in His most important moment on Earth….His crucifixion. This is the moment that gave life to the whole universe!
St. Paul goes on to say “It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me”. We were crucified and buried with the Lord in a mystical way through baptism. As we came out of the baptismal water we put on Christ. This is why we sing “As many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Now what does St. Paul mean when he says “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me”? Well let’s think about the way that St. Paul lived. From the moment that he encountered Our Lord his whole world was forever changed. He went from a persecutor of Christians to being persecuted for his Christianity. He was regularly suffering hardships such as long travels by sea. He was often thrown into prison and beaten and scourged. He suffered many many things for the Lord’s sake but he was fine with that. In fact, his sufferings were the proof that he no longer lived for himself. His life was all about Jesus Christ.
Christ lives and dwells in each of us because we have put on Christ in baptism and because we hear the word of God and receive the flesh of the Son of God each and every week. Do we ever think about what Christ wants for us and for our lives? Do we ever base our actions, our purchases, our attitude towards others on what Christ wants for our lives?
Part of putting on Christ means that God the Father no longer sees us as mere human beings. He sees His beloved Son in each of us! This is true no matter what we have done in life. The image of Christ is forever ours, though it may often need to be uncovered and polished. This is the goal of prayer and struggle and fasting. The challenge of our Christian life is to allow others to see what God already sees in each of us. God sees the Lord Jesus in every one of us. Do our actions, our words, and our thoughts allow others to see Jesus in us? If not, we have a problem. If others don’t see Christ through me, then it is possible that I am wasting the gift that God has given me through baptism. I am forgetting that it is no longer my life. I gave up my life in baptism in order to take the life of Jesus Christ as my own.
The best thing that anyone can every say about you is that your life is a reflection of God. This is the witness of the saints of the Church. This is the meaning of our baptism into Christ. Each of us has entered into this mystery with the Apostle Paul. Let us be like St. Paul and display lives that shine with the radiance of Christ. And Glory be to God forever AMEN.