The first reading of the Mass for today is from the letter from St Paul to the Galatians Ch. 5 vs 18-25. I have reproduced the RSV version for your convenience:
“But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”
Reading this, we might easily think that St Paul was determined that Christians should not enjoy life – especially the “no party spirit” bit! But he does make a good point! We are challenged to consider what values we prize most in life. The list of worldly practices is quite extensive, and maybe we are guilty of some of them without being fully aware of their presence. Equally, there are probably fruits of the spirit that we don’t nurture either – and we probably need to give them more attention.
The big wake-up call for all of us should be St Paul’s assertion that if we practice the things of this world, we are not preparing ourselves for the kingdom of God. In fact, we shall not inherit it! Pretty scary stuff!!
Living OF this world is a huge challenge to our living IN it. Finding the balance is critical – especially when our daily lives are often packed with just getting by. The lives of the saints often reveal that they also had to wrestle with this frustration so we are not alone. But our spiritual values must never be compromised.
Prayer must be a fundamental part of our everyday routine. Pray often and it will help us to keep focus.
God bless and stay safe. Dc Mike & the team.