Scripture: Lectionary 469, Oct.17. Galatians 5:18-25. Psalm 1:1-2,3-4, 6. Luke 11:42-46
Paul encourages us to follow the Spirit’s lead. This results in the following fruits or virtues: love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity. We are not to be overwhelmed by this list. In fact, they all work together and increase each time we are practicing or enjoying one of them through the Holy Spirit with whom we were baptized into all of the virtues and gifts.
It is like the first day of call at a high school or college; we all have an “A.”
Joy brings us peace and peace is usually obtained by our patience and prayer. Be kind in difficult situations is also usually brought about by our patient endurance and listening to those who act, think, or believe differently from us. These gifts of the Spirit are holy expressions that are more like an organism than a piecemeal list of virtues. Faith and love embrace all of them. We remember a most recent prayer that urges us to be strong in faith, unwavering in hope, and steadfast in love. All are there because of the Spirit and we are to be attuned to listen to the promptings of the Spirit who dwells within our hearts enkindled by faith and love. Paul sums it all up by saying, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s lead.
In the first part of the excerpt from Paul for today there is a listing of the vices that are contrasted with the fruits of the Spirit. They are there to remind us that we need the grace of God through the Holy Spirit if we are to overcome these tendencies which disturb our spiritual peace.
Jesus shows that what is inside of us is what counts. We have some contrasting behavior on those who oppose his teaching and are more interested in a verbal confrontation with him over things that Paul would associate with sinful behavior. We choose to listen to the Lord and be guided by the Spirit. We belong to Christ Jesus who has taught us to crucify those evil traits and our wayward passions and desires.
Psalm One is often given to us in the Response to the first reading. Today it completes what Paul is saying with the overview of what it means to be spiritually wise and discerning with right judgment and carrying out with good works. This wisdom hymn introduces the whole prayer book of the Psalms and inspires us to live out its message. We do what is right, good, and noble while not following the foolish ways of the unrighteous. We are blessed and are not like the chaff driven by the wind. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.
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