Conformed or transformed

Be not conformed to this age,
but be transformed
by the renewal of your understanding.
Romans 12: 2

In today’s Gospel, Matthew 16: 21-27, Jesus calls Simon Peter “Satan,” the adversary, the one who plots against the Lord. Peter wants to block the way of the Cross.

For Peter is thinking – or better, reasoning – not as God does, but as humans do.

We look for advantage, for ways to get ahead, to be in control.

But Jesus transforms the world by giving us a new way of thinking – a way of giving oneself.

Today I recall two people who died on August 31 – one from the US, John Leary, who died in Boston in 1982; the other an Ecuadorian bishop, Leonidas Proaño, who died in 1988. I wrote about them in a blog entry last year, which can be read here.

I met John Leary several times at Haley House in Boston. What always struck me was his simplicity, his lack of arrogance. He was actively engaged in resistance to MIT’s nuclear weapons lab, to abortion, to military intervention – but I never saw the self-righteousness I have seen in some activists.

It was probably his life of prayer, his opening his room to the poor, his service to those in need that kept him grounded.

If no one told you, you would not know that he was a graduate of Harvard University. For him, that was not important.

He was a person who was not conformed to this age but had allowed himself to be transformed by Christ and the poor.

Will I let myself be transformed – or do I let myself be formed by the search for recognition, for security, for honors and wealth?

 

May God transform me.

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