Behave Like Ordinary Men

Tibidabo temple, Barcelona, Spain 

I love this quote from C.S. Lewis: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously – no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

There are no “ordinary people.” In fact, I will go so far as to say that we humans are most ordinary when we are forgetful of the gift of eternal life granted to us by the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection. That’s when we act like we have to gather all kinds of stuff around us to hide from our fear of mortality. That’s when jealousy and envy and pride rear their ugly heads in our lives. It’s when we are forgetful of our true selves that we stop being our true selves.

St. Paul says as much in today’s Epistle Reading in 1 Corinthians 2:9-16; 3:1-8. He’s writing to his wayward parish in Corinth and confronting them with their all too human challenges of jealousy and bickering. How petty! Especially in light of the truth that we have “the mind of Christ.” (see 1 Corinthians 2:16)

Listen to what St. Paul says: “But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” 1 Corinthians 3:1-7

When we live our daily lives as if Christ did not conquer death, we reduce ourselves to “ordinary men.” We fall prey to the fear and jealousy of lives gripped by the fear of death. We fight over foolish things. Our ego “demands” recognition and attention. Our feelings are easily hurt. Our relationships become all about making ourselves feel better. We become spiritual and emotional vampires, consuming others for our own survival. In other words, we become that which we are not – ordinary.

Today, where is the forgetfulness of your true self most evident in your life? Where are you afraid? Where are you jealous or envious or angry? Examine those places in your heart today and you will discover the missing ingredient of faith, of the mind of Christ. Thinking like Christ thinks banishes all of this foolishness from our lives and sets us free to live as we truly are – The Eternal Companions of God, the Uncreated. Why would you want to live below that truth?

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