Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.

I point to today’s gospel as proof of Saint Luke’s sense of humor,

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too. And (Jesus) said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!”

This foolish academic walked right into Jesus’ knuckle sandwich! Perhaps he is one of those drama types found in every family; he’d rather have bad attention than none.

In today’s first reading we find two of Saint Paul’s characteristic lists. The first consists of vices; the second, of virtues. Of the latter he says, “Against such there is no law.”

But the list of vices seems more interesting. Could Shakespeare write Hamlet without hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, (and) acts of selfishness? What would Hollywood sell without immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry (and) sorcery? As the comedienne said, “Heaven for the climate; hell for the company.”

Life in the spirit gets exciting only in retrospect as the hagiographers go to work, recalling the work of the saints and the risks they took. Day by day it is just ordinary stuff: making plans, meeting schedules, saying prayers, seeing the obvious, doing the necessary, thinking of others first and oneself later.
The Spirit points to others saying “Look how beautiful this old person is; see how much grief this child is carrying; notice the courage of her choices; pity this person who gets what he wants.”

The Spirit rarely says, “Look at me. Look what I have done!” The only exceptions are the moments of remorse and regret when the saint must say, “I have sinned again.” In those moments her companions avert their eyes even as her enemies close in.

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Saint do not invite Jesus’ knuckle sandwich but they welcome the rod of his discipline and the staff of his guidance by which you give me comfort.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.