“Imitation of Christ,” 30th Sunday

My neighbor’s two-year old son carries around the doll named Sheriff Woody. Just try taking Woody away from him. How often is Marlon Brando mentioned by actors as a model. Either to meet his standards or surpass them?

How many saints looked to Jesus Christ as a model. Meeting his standards may prove a difficult feat but attempting to meet them is the call of the saints. And, I may suggest, to all of us budding saints.

St. Paul uses the word “imitators” today and it caught my eye. Girls walking around in mom’s big high heels shoes and boys holding a pretend cigar (at least during my youth). Thinking about the neighbor kid, his dad told me that he’s absorbing stronger than a sponge and observing every movement of mom and dad. What his growing brain does with all that information is anybody’s guess but it’s all resting and living up there.

Jesus gives us the greatest challenge of our earthly lives in a short, succinct declaration. A loving declaration about love. There’s our life’s bar. Repeating, it’s not to reach that Christ bar because failing and fail again we will, yet our attempts, our daily efforts is well worth imitating.

We read and hear often about being Christ-like. It’s almost admitting missing the bar from the start. Still, time to time it also implies that that “like” is possible. It’s like the teenager who uses the word “like” six times in one sentence trying to describe what is difficult to accurately describe.

I’m in a store small talking with the clerk waiting for my bill. He looks at me and says, “You look like Fred MacMurray.” I said, “Fred MacMurray!” I was holding out for Brad Pitt. However, Fred’s earlier photos do bear a resemblance. 

Ezekiel hits us hard this weekend saying we were all aliens at some point. A good message for our nation these days. Lend money and ask for no interest. Compassion, anyone? Returning his cloak before sunset because the owner only owns one. Kindness, anyone? And, I know a lot of widows but no orphans. After hearing Ezekiel, I hope no wrong ever comes from me to hurt them.

“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Oscar is partly correct. Nevertheless, and all the more, we are not mediocre. Our baptism in dying to ourselves and rising with Christ is our homage paid “to greatness.” No one can flatter the Son of God. You know, sometimes it is okay to copy someone’s work. Go ahead and peek over to the next desk where the smartest kid sits. We look to Christ through his words and in his sacrifice to copy from his test of life modeling the test for ours. For he was found worthy, this sacrificial lamb. Found worthy to be imitated, again, again and again, and declared out loud once more, “again.”

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. Serving as Administrator, St. Catherine of Alexandria, 8661 N. 76 Place, Milwaukee, WI. 53223. www.stcatherinemke.org. Six books on the Catholic church and U.S. culture are available on Amazon.com.
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