Wednesday, Oct. 14th 2020

Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings

 

“Woe to you Pharisees! … and the very same to you, Scribes of the law!” Reproaches such as these – and with the same ominous tone as we heard in the Gospel yesterday – are continued in Luke’s firsthand account today.

Judging solely by external standards, the lives of the Pharisees could be judged beyond reproach, perhaps praiseworthy. What was lacking, however, was any notion of other-directed motives and any religious substance. Craving the respect that others were obliged to give them, they offered little or no respect in return, especially to those of lower station. Jesus demanded mutual respect, of course, but even more than that: love.

Applying Jesus’ teaching to our own lives, we resolve never to let ourselves be occupied solely with the externals of our religion, or to be satisfied just to fiddle occasionally with the concrete details of communal worship, in the belief that that activity alone will make things better. Much rather, we should strive every day for a deeper interior faith, a livelier hope, and a more constant love of God and neighbor. These, above all, are the spiritual sacrifices that God desires from us. They ought to be the substance of our striving, of our metanoia, of our change of heart.

St. Paul writes to the Galatians, “The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, mildness, and chastity.” We learned about most of these in Catholic grade school or CCD – not necessarily the same words, but the same ideas. Do you give attention to any of these spiritual fruits? I imagine we all do, to a certain extent. Whether a bushel or a peck depends on how much we are open to the workings of the Holy Spirit within us.

Anyway, never try forcing the fruits of the Spirit. You’ll go crazy trying…and it won’t work. That would be like a peach tree trying to force itself to grow peaches. It cannot be done. The peaches are the result of a good thing already going on inside the peach tree, a vital energy that the tree acquired by reaching out its roots and taking in the proper nourishment. It’s the same with us. Spiritual intimacy with Christ must become the main factor in our spiritual growth.

Reflection by Fr. Quentin Kathol, OSB

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