Adaptive yet consistent

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE have to know how to be adaptive to the different and changing conditions of our life without losing our Christian identity and consistency. This is one clear lesson we can gather from that gospel episode where Christ was asked why his disciples did not fast while those of John the Baptist did. (cfr. Lk 5,33-39)

“Can you make the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?” Christ asked. “But the days will come, and when the bridegroom is taken away from them, then they will fast in those days.”

The secret, of course, is to become truly like Christ. He is the master of adaptation, flexibility, versality and consistency. This was shown, first of all, by the fact that out of sheer love for us, in spite of our stupidities, he became man to recover us from our state of alienation from God. Yes, out of this unwavering love, he did everything, including offering his own life, to redeem us.

This truth of our faith should sink deep in our consciousness and should somehow impel us to undertake a process of becoming Christ-like, obviously with the help of God’s grace that is actually also provided to us in abundance.

Let’s remember that not only did the Son of God become man, he also assumed the sinfulness of man without committing any sin, and as consequence, took on the human condition of being weakened and wounded by sin, including being subjected to temptation and finally death.

In his preaching, he used parables to make his lessons more accessible to the people. He was always compassionate, quick to forgive, slow to anger. He was always thinking of his Father and of the people. Remember him saying, “The one who sent me is true and what I heard from him I tell the world.” (Jn 8,26)

He gave preferential treatment to the children, the weak, the handicapped, the sick, the sinners. He was only allergic to the proud and self-righteous whose sense of right and wrong did not come from God, but rather from their own selves in their great variety of human consensus and other subtle forms of self-assertion. But on the cross, he asked forgiveness for everyone.

He was always adapting himself to the people, being flexible to everyone, and yet managed to accomplish his mission, whatever the situation was. He was not only passively adapting himself to the environment. He was also actively pursuing his goal in different ways. That’s versatility for you.

Eventually, he rounded off all these expressions of adaptability, flexibility and versatility by offering his life on the cross. There he made as his own all the sins of men, died to them and rose from the dead. He turned the cross from being a tree of sin and death into a tree of life. His death conquered sin and death, and opened the door to eternal life.

To become Christ-like would indeed require a lifetime effort, but we can always start and develop it anytime. Let us not wait for some so-called opportune moment to be so. Any time, any situation can and should be an occasion to be like Christ. Obviously, we have to know Christ more and more. Thus, we need to be familiar with his life, his teachings and his example.

Let us put our mind and heart into this most important responsibility of ours.