Friday, December 29, 2006

The Two Ways

Today I was reading a book on early Church history, and I came across an expression used in the early Church called the "two ways." At first glance I didn't know what this was about. I knew that the faith was originally called "the way," but I wasn't sure what could be the other way if one of the "two ways" was this "way."

It turns out that as I read on there was an explaination of the "two ways," and in fact, we still unknowingly use a formula that is indicative of the "two ways." Easter vigil when the community is asked to renew their baptismal promises, the priest asks

"Do you reject sin so as to live in the freedom of God's children?"

The people respond

"I do."

"Do you reject the glamor of evil and refuse to be mastered by sin?"

"I do."

"Do you reject Satan, father of sin and prince of darkness?"

"I do."

Then the questions change.

"Do you believe in God the Father, Almighty, maker of heaven and earth?"

"I do." (or in Latin "Credo," "I believe")

"Do you believe in Jesus Christ His only Son, our Lord, Who was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died, and was buried, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father?"

"I do."

"Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?"

"I do."

Here we see a good demostration of the two ways in which the Christian is called to walk: rejection of evil and sin, and clinging to Christ.

The "two ways" are the first message we hear Jesus speaking about in the Gospel of Mark. After announcing that the Kingdom of God is at hand Jesus says, "Repent and believe in the good news." This boils down to ceasing of evil and adherence to the good - Ceasing of sins vices and the doing of good works and being virtuous - Ceasing to believe in false gods (including too much in one's self) and believing in God.

(I think this ties in to my post of St. John because the law teaches us to reject the bad by telling what not to do, and Jesus teaches to do good.)

So today, may you remember your baptismal promises and the two ways you set out on.

Thank you God for the gift of baptism. Help us by the power of your Holy Spirit to reject what is displeasing to you and to do what is good, so that more and more we made be made anew in the imagine of Christ your Son, we ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

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