28th Week, Wednesday, Oct 14

Galatians 5:18-25 / Luke 11:42-46 

Paul talks about the Spirit: Generosity is a fruit of the Spirit,

 In his book What Is a Jew? Morris Kertzer says that every Hebrew child learns the story of Honi the traveler. One day Honi met an old man who was busy planting a very small fruit tree. “When will that tree bear fruit?” Honi asked. The old man replied, “Probably years after I am dead.” Honi asked, “Why plant it, if you won’t enjoy its fruit?” The old man replied, “I didn’t find the world empty of trees when I was born. So I plant it for others who will follow me, just as others did for me.”

A true sign that the Spirit is active in our lives is our generosity toward others. If we asked our friends to list our virtues, would they list “generosity” as one of them? “It is possible to give without loving, but it is impossible to love without giving.” Richard Braunstein


For those of us who have "green fingers" and like to plant things and have some space around the home to do so, then we would know about creepers and climbers. Creepers are plants with weak stems that cannot stand upright and spread on the ground. Examples are pumpkins, watermelon and sweet potato. Climbers are plants with weak stems and they would need the support of a stick or a fence. Examples are grapevine, money-plant and cucumber. If we had grown cucumbers before, then we will notice, as well as be amazed, how the "branches" seem to "know" where the supports are and reach out for it slowly. It seems like those "branches" have "eyes". 

The 1st reading tells us that if we are led by the Spirit, then we will experience the gifts of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. And surely we want those gifts. But we must also reach out to the Spirit in order to be led by the Spirit. But we also know that our hearts have the "eyes" to know where the Spirit is leading us to and what the Spirit wants of us. And the 1st reading also tells us that in order to reach out and to be led by the Spirit, then we have to crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires. If the climber plants "know" how to "look" for support and growth, then let us look to the Holy Spirit and let our hearts be directed by the Holy Spirit and grow in the love of God.


Wednesday October 14

Christ has liberated those who believe in him from the Jewish law, but that does not mean that they can do just anything. Freedom is not licentiousness, for that would make them slaves again, of what Paul calls “the works of the flesh.” They are now free and urged to do the good works of the Spirit.
It is surprising that Jesus could cure all ills – the blind, the deaf, lepers, yes, and also sinners aware of their failures. But he could not cure Pharisees and scribes from their “open-eyed” blindness. Jesus does perhaps not attack them so much for their literal observance of the last detail of the law but for getting so absorbed by the details of the law that they did not see the roots of all laws, justice and love. This is also the key teaching of Paul in his letter to the Galatians: not laws but the Spirit.

Opening Prayer
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus was the fulfillment
of the Law and the Prophets.
He knew and taught and lived
that the fulfillment of the Law and the promises
lies in the service of people and of you
in justice and love.
Let these too be the guides of our lives,
that with him we seek people
and above all the living person
of you, our God for ever and ever.

For Paul, the law has a purpose as an antidote to sin where there is immorality, licentiousness, jealousy, orgies, dissension, jealousy, and the like. Where such obtains, the law can regulate such conduct, but none of it has anything to do with the reign of God. But the conduct of those who live in the Spirit is of a different order: love, joy, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. Here the law has no place. Against such things there is no law.
If we belong to Christ, the flesh has been crucified with its passions and desires. To walk in the Spirit is to walk with God toward a destiny with God forever. This is the great message of hope that the preacher is called to articulate. It is small wonder that the Lucan Jesus in the Gospel was concerned about the absence in his time of a message of hope. Both the Pharisees and the scholars of the law were much too concerned with secondary matters and signs of status. It is easy to understand his frustration. This is a far cry from the message that he came to bring.
When we examine our conscience, we spend an inordinate amount of time on issues that belong to the era of the law. How much time do we devote to the good that we are called to espouse? How far are we willing to go in extending ourselves? In being truly people of the Spirit? If most of our time is spent in evaluating ourselves in the light of the commandments, we act as people of the former covenant instead of the freed people of the new dispensation.

Points to Ponder
The function of die law
The lawless life in the Spirit
The Christian examination of conscience

For missionaries and all who proclaim the faith, that their own lifestyle may be a strong argument to follow Christ, we pray:
For all prophets in the Church, that their personal encounter with Christ may give them the power to speak for what is right and good, we pray:
For us, that we may care little about outward display but for the things that matter: honesty, justice and love, we pray:

Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
we offer you ourselves through these gifts
and ask you to send us
the Holy Spirit of you and your Son.
Let him change these offerings into Jesus
and let him guide our minds and hearts
to bear fruits of life: love, joy, peace and patience
and all that brings happiness to God’s people.
May we thus live the life
of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Prayer after Communion
Lord our God,
your Son has spoken hard words today
not just to scribes and Pharisees of the past
but to us, your people today.
Let these words wake us up
from our self-complacency,
our peace with ourselves.
Keep us from deceiving ourselves
or wasting our time and effort
on things that do not matter;
make us absolutely sincere
with ourselves and with people
and honest to you, our God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

We believe in Jesus Christ. We recognize him as our Lord and Savior. This commits us, then, to practice justice and love of God and neighbor. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.