Psalms 24:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
“The Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has freed you from the law
of sin and death.”
The whole world is governed by the natural law of entropy, which says that everything eventually decays, everything tends towards disorder. Though St. Paul did not know the Laws of Thermodynamics, he seems to have recognized that it's a whole lot easier to give into the impulses and desires of our flesh-nature then it is to struggle for our spiritual growth. Disorder is natural and order is unnatural. Order requires great effort (anyone who lives or has lived with children knows this to be true!). So, too, in our spiritual lives. As long as we live in this world, we suffer from the Law of Entropy. Growth in holiness takes effort; without that effort, our holiness decays.
“…I will hoe around it and manure it; then perhaps it will bear
If we want to bear fruit, we have to work at it. We have to nurture our spirit, feed it with the study of God’s word and fertilize it with contemplation so we can grow in the experience of God’s presence within us. So we can learn to love one another as He has loved us. Without limits, He gave His life for us. In humility and service, He washed the feet of His disciples. Without distinction of people, He associated with scribes, tax collectors, and prostitutes. He calls us His friends. His prayer at the Last Supper (John 17) shows His concern for us and His passion for unity.
“The tendency of the flesh is toward death, but that of the Spirit
toward life and peace.”
Paul tells us that those who live according to the Spirit will have life and peace. It does not mean that we will be spared of all tragedy or pain. Jesus tells us about two seemingly horrific tragedies that resulted in the loss of life for many. He makes it clear that those people were not deserving of this type of death because they were sinners. If we have life through His Spirit we will experience His peace.
“Lord, this is the people that longs to see your face.”
If we truly long to see God’s face then we should find it first in our neighbors, our colleagues, our relations, and, yes, even our enemies. We all share the same human conditions, limitations and poverty of spirit. We need to recognize that we ourselves are the first in need to be forgiven, freed, saved. We need to recognize that the Spirit of God dwells in each of us, in spite of our failings. We need to look for the face of God in everyone we encounter, even if we do not like them, or we think they do not like us, or they are different from us. If we reflect on these truths how will they affect our attitudes? How will they change our priorities? How will they shape our actions?
Lord, give us an attitude of understanding, of generosity and of forgiveness towards all. May your Spirit of Love direct our every thought, word and action today and always. Bless us with your peace and protect us from all evil. Amen.
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