BY: Fr. Unachukwu Cyril CCE

There is no moment in which we realize ourselves better than when we place the interest of others above ours. In living for others, we become most similar to Christ our Lord and Saviour, in whose Paschal Mysteries we are saved.

May our Lord Jesus Christ who is the one, unique and brightest and most successful model of this path, lead us gently through it by the power of His unflinching grace; Amen. The desire to always place our interest first in everything is one that comes often and on into our minds. In most of the cases, we think that by focusing solely on that which we want we would surely reach our desired destination, even when it involves pushing aside the interest and well-being of all those around us.

No attitude and disposition destroys and disintegrates our communities and our world more than this type of mindset and internal surge; and no deceit makes us lose everything dear to us more than this lie.
This attitude was becoming part of the principal obstacles in the early Christian Community of the Philippians.

To help retrace their focus to the right track, the Apostle of the Gentiles, Saint Paul, wrote this beautiful summary of the life of our Lord Jesus Christ which we heard in the Second Reading (Phil 2:1-11) of today’s Mass which is popularly known as “the kenosis– the self emptying of Christ.” The kenotic style of life is the life rooted in living for others.

Living for the upliftment of others and in the realization that the true measure of our self-realization and fulfillment is our ability to be a beacon for the self-realization and fulfillment of others. What else could be a perfect demonstration of the life of Christ who is the Emmanuel, the God with us. In emptying Himself for us, Jesus Christ accomplished His true identity and mission.

Saint Paul teaches us the secret to a fulfilled and successful life rooted in the life and person of Christ; “in your minds, you must be the same as Christ Jesus.” The kenotic movement obeys the law of spiritual arithmetic. We empty ourselves of everything to be filled with our own proper share of the glory of God. The manifestation of this glory of God within us is what distinguishes us. Certainly, the desire for self-realization and fulfillment is the desire to be distinguished which can only come about through the glory of God manifesting itself in us.

The Glory of God cannot manifest in a person who is already filled of himself or herself. The root of sin is always the self, when we think that this will make me feel better even when it involves the exploitation of another in whatever way we deem necessary. The self remains the strongest obstacle to the kenotic movement. Success in the war against sin begins at the very point of self-renunciation.

This also is the root of success in the kenotic style of life. Anyone who is not ready to renounce himself cannot master the turmoil of temptation and surely cannot be kenotic. And renouncing oneself is deeply connected to the ability to empty the ego of its pride and desire to always place itself in the first position.

The ability to be kenotic in our actions does not only empower us more to renounce and be victorious over sin and live as we learnt in the First Reading (Ez 18:25-28); most importantly, it enlightens us to see the will of God as the last resort to our lasting happiness just like the first son in the Gospel Reading (Mt 21:28-32) later realised; irrespective of the many directions that may form initial resistance within us not to follow the will of God.

May God help us by His grace and the example of His Son Jesus Christ to be kenotic in our actions especially in this month of October; Amen.
Happy Sunday and Happy New Month; Fr Cyril CCE

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