Wearing Brand Names (10.8.1016)

As far back as I can remember I had a love-hate relationship with buying brand name stuff.  I knew it was important to some people whether your shirt had a little bird on it or if you really liked these Abercrombie and Fitch people.  Now that I am older, I only wear name brands if they come from the thrift store (I’m doing what I can to rock my dad-style).  However, I find myself torn about brand names when I get sent on food retrieval missions or grocery store runs when I’m not feeling imaginative.  I also struggle with what brand is better when buying power tools and the like.  And I am persnickety about my paint brushes.  I want Purdy or I don’t want it.  I’m sure I’m not the only who struggles with the question “In what should clothe myself?”  Our first reading gives us the answer.

In today’s first reading St. Paul wrote, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”  To our modern sensibilities, this means we have bought into the brand name.  Through our Baptism, we are supposed to be a walking billboard for Jesus.  We don’t have to be obnoxious like Abercrombie and Fitch.  It might be more synonymous with the North Face logo on someone’s back shoulder or the Hollister bird where a pocket should be.  Either way, we should be about Christ and for Christ.  We should swear by Christ’s reliability and staying power with more zeal than people talk about Toyota or Honda.  I should be as ready to make the investment for Christ as I am for a Purdy brush.  We should be all in for Christ.  And that is just the connection from our modern perspective.

When we look at the ancient connection we remember that clothing was not a loose insinuation of status, but a declaration.  Today I can wear nice clothes and not have status, but in the ancient world, your clothes communicated who you were, what your standing was, and how you should be treated.  Paul declares Christ the great equalizer.  When we are Baptized, we are clothed in Christ.  We become co-heirs to the throne.  We share Christ’s mantle of priest, prophet, and king.  It doesn’t eradicate the structure of the society in which we live but does place a demand upon how we see one another.  Paul essentially tells us that our first impression of another Baptized Christian should be Jesus.  Here is a person to whom I must be Christ and a person who can be Christ to me.

In Baptism, we are clothed in Christ.  It is a marvelous gift of grace that demands a costly lifestyle.


Names Have Meaning

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter

Today, the title Christian comes with all sorts of preconceptions.  It comes with baggage and blessings and no small amount of controversy over who can and can’t or should and shouldn’t be called Christian.  Before all of that, a group of disciples were called Christians in Antioch.  We find it here at the end of the first reading from Acts, “And it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.”  It seems a little crazy that there had been mass conversions, people had been persecuted, and Stephen had even been martyred for the faith, and yet, they were only just now being called Christian.  Moreover, the passage gives the impression that they didn’t create the name, but were given it by others.  As we reflect on this, let’s take some time to consider what Christian would have meant to those who first heard it.

To our ears, Christ sounds like a name.  We can truly empathize with the person who thinks Jesus was the son of Mary and Joseph Christ as if it was his last name.  We forget that it is a title and a title with significant meaning.  To a 1st Century Jewish person, the Christ was the anointed one, the Messiah.  The Christ was the ointment to soothe Israel’s centuries of longing and waiting.  The fulfillment of the desires of the prophets.  The early Church professed this fulfillment so adamantly that they were called Christians.  They were identified by their belief that God kept his promises, that fulfillment was more than possible, it was a reality.  That our longing has an answer.  That answer, they professed, is Jesus.

To the Gentile, unfamiliar with Judaism, to call someone a Christian would mean “someone who belongs to the anointed one”.  Anointing has its own significance, and I have no intention of guessing what each culture makes of it, but it seems worth noting that they were not described as belonging to Jesus, but instead to this “anointed one”.  This might get at the subversive nature of the Gospel.  These are people who don’t belong to Caesar, but to Christos.  That is merely a guess, but the idea exists that we belong not to our nation or even this world in the same way that we belong to Christ.  When Christ is our life, the factions and identities of this world seem so fleeting.

Finally, we should not forget that Acts tells us “the disciples were first called Christians.”  Before they were called Christians they were called the disciples, and disciples are always known by who their master is.  Too often today, people can know we are Christians without a shred of evidence that Christ is our master.

Maybe we need the reminder of what it meant for the first Christians to be called that.  Are we a people professing fulfillment in Christ?  Do we belong to him more than our nations, political parties, and other factions?  Like disciples who only make sense if you know the master, do we only make sense if you know Jesus?pantolarge

QotD – To Not Merely be Called a Christian – 2.22.2016

Only beg for me strength within and without, that I may be a man not merely of words, but also of resolution.  In this way I shall not only be called a Christian, but also prove to be one.  For if I prove to be one, I can also be called a true believer even then when I am no longer seen by the world. (Ignatius of Antioch. Letter to the Romans. ~ 110 AD. 3)

Identity Crisis

I was reflecting while getting ready for my day.  As my mind wandered from ‘How to explain the sleep cycles of an 18 month old?’ to ‘How do you ensure your loofah doesn’t run out of soap bubbles before cleaning your feet?’ a larger issue entered my brain.  I began to wonder, ‘How did Christian behavior get severed from Christian belief and identity?’ Continue reading “Identity Crisis”

Sharing is Caring

Ite Missa Est Reflection February 07, 2015  –  Scripture Readings

A line from Hebrews struck me today.  It reads:

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have God is pleased by sacrifices of that kind. (Heb. 13:16 NAB)

This seems pretty simple, right?  Any basic catechesis we received will tell us that sins of omission, failing to do something, are real.  We even say it when we recite the Confeitor with these words:

I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, … in what I have failed to do.

So we are certainly supposed to do good and we are supposed to share.  Hebrews tells us to share what we have and that is where we should spend some time today. Continue reading “Sharing is Caring”

A Revolutionary Idea of God

I’ve been watching the TV show Revolution on Netflix.Revolution_Infobox  It is a turn your brain off and go for the ride kind of show.  I enjoy the concept and the plot.  I have no problem with the way it seems to Frankenstein itself off of other Post-apocalyptic works.  It starts as a kind of step-child of S.M. Stirling’s Dies the Fire and CBS’ Jericho.  Its not so distant cousins certainly include Jeremiah and I’m sure a host of other shows and books I’ve never been exposed to or can’t recall.

Dies_the_fire     d2qiwqg0vnnnqaxdq7yk    51j1jI9nUUL._SY300_

SPOILERS BELOW Continue reading “A Revolutionary Idea of God”

7 Practical Tips for RCIA Sponors

RCIA is not a journey that is meant to be taken alone, so, I want to offer 7 Practical Tips for Sponsors.  Many of these I’ve generated from looking back over my experience as an RCIA sponsor.  These are things I wish someone would have summarized for me.

*Disclaimer: each tip will alternate between masculine and feminine pronouns to represent both without adding the bulkiness of constantly writing he/she, him/her. Continue reading “7 Practical Tips for RCIA Sponors”

The Atheist and the Christian

My parents brought home a bulletin from a Latin Mass that they went to in Chicago.  In the bulletin was this little piece that I’m going to reproduce, I don’t know where this church got it, or if one of their members put it together, but this is from Saint John Cantius‘ May 11, 2014 bulletin.AskAnAtheistDay

An Atheist’s View on Life

I will live my life according these beliefs
God does not exist
It is just foolish to think
That there is a cosmic plan
That an all-powerful God brings healing Is a comforting thought, however
It is only wishful thinking
People can do as they please without eternal consequences
The idea that
I am deserving of Hell
Because of sin
Is a lie meant to make me a slave to those in power
“The more you have, the happier you will be”
Our existence has no grand meaning of purpose
In a world with no God
There is freedom to be who I want to be
But with God
Everything is fine
It is ridiculous to think
I am lost and in need of saving

A Christian View on Life
[Read  This  Bottom  to  Top]


Conservative. Progressive. Catholic.

Labels are a big deal in our culture.  We act like your label is the quick concise way to size you up and put you in a neat, tidy, little box.  We essentially use them as genre titles for people.  We all know this.  But knowing it doesn’t change the fact that it is a constant struggle.  The way we use political labels overshadows and metaphorically boxes-out our faith.  We — scandalously — allow our politics to inform our faith instead of our faith informing our politics and it causes more divisions and pain throughout the whole Body of Christ.

So what is my point? Continue reading “Conservative. Progressive. Catholic.”