How our minds change often surprises us. We have an Aha! moment, when according to the much used image, a light goes on inside. We have an insight, and we see something that we could not quite see before, or we see something familiar in an entirely new way.
The second reading for next Sunday presents us with a rather striking set of words from St. Paul. Writing to what was probably his favorite community of believers, the one in Philippi, Paul talks about what his faith has meant to him.
He expresses himself in terms of a contrast between what he saw before, and what he sees now. “I consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him.”
Now it would be one thing if Paul considered everything he had to be pointless or worthless. In fact, Paul saw his heritage as a Jew as among the greatest of gifts and graces. He knows exactly what has come to humankind from his Jewish heritage; the covenant, the Law, the prophets, the promise of life.
So great, however, has been the transformation that Paul experiences in Jesus, so powerful his new insight, so world changing his was, as so much rubbish.
Few of us go through changes such as Paul describes, but all of us have the opportunity for an Aha! experience of our faith. Christ works as much in us as in Paul. Christ promises as much to us as he did to Paul. In Christ, God has done something new, to use the phrase we will see in Isaiah next Sunday.
In Christ, God has made us all new. At Mass we have a chance to let the light go on and see that newness again.
When was the last time you had an insight that changed everything?
Try to identify what you consider the greatest change you have experienced in your life, a change that turned your world upside down. How long did the process of change take? Have you ever shared your life changing experience with someone else? Have you ever shared faith with someone else?
Lord, Father, I have not already taken hold of life’s fullness; I have not yet attained perfect maturity. But, with your grace and love, I continue my pursuit in the hope that I may possess it, all that you would give me, since I have indeed been taken over by the passion of Christ Jesus. Help me to strain forward to what lies ahead, to continue pursuing the prize, the upward calling, of full life in Christ. Amen