Dear Parish Family,
I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.
Paul, writing from prison, is speaking to each one of us. Jailed and suffering, Paul’s first concern isn’t for himself; it is for each one of us who follow the call of Christ and that we live in a manner worthy of that call. It is easy to bicker, to backbite, and to find fault, but such actions are not worthy of our Christian dignity. It is easy to resent and to foster discord, but we are called to something far greater.
Humility and gentleness are acts of great courage. It takes firm resolve and self-mastery to be humble and gentle with others. Any fool can shout and call names, and there are plenty of fools in the world. We, though, are called to something far greater. We are called to brotherhood not only with those who love us, but with all of mankind. We are called to be the example — to show the way to Christ.
Early Christians weren’t called Christians; they were called Followers of The Way. Today, although that language has, sadly, largely been lost, we are still followers of The Way. It’s not one way; it’s not a valid way among a collection of equally valid ways. It is The Way — the one and only Way, and it leads us to Christ.
We cannot approach Christ through discord or violence; we cannot come to Christ bearing anger. We cannot be true followers of Christ unless we embrace peace and allow it to live in us and be at the very core of our being. In a world full of violence, it is our Christian duty to show to the world that there is another way — a better way — and that way is one of peace, wisdom, love, mutual respect, and upbuilding.