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The Fruit of the Holy Spirit

First Reading: Galatians 5:18-25

Brothers and sisters:
If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are obvious:
immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry,
sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy,
outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness,
dissensions, factions, occasions of envy,
drinking bouts, orgies, and the like.
I warn you, as I warned you before,
that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
patience, kindness, generosity,
faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Against such there is no law.
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.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4 AND 6

R. (see Jn 8:12) Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.
R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Gospel: Luke 11:42-46

The Lord said:
“Woe to you Pharisees!
You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb,
but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.
These you should have done, without overlooking the others.
Woe to you Pharisees!
You love the seat of honor in synagogues
and greetings in marketplaces.
Woe to you!
You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.”

Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply,
“Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.”
And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law!
You impose on people burdens hard to carry,
but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

NAB

oct-12

Saint Paul is not one to mince words. He just lays out the fact that the “works of the flesh” will keep us away from the Kingdom of God—immorality, impurity, hatred, jealousy, acts of selfishness, etc. There was a time in my life when I was not living as I ought and was giving into my passions and desires. When I finally hit bottom, I called out to God. I distinctly remember kneeling at the foot of my bed sobbing because I hated what I had become and wanted nothing more than to leave that old life behind and embrace a new life in Christ.

The next day I woke up feeling a shift within me but I also realized that living a life of Christ was more than just avoiding these sins. Saint Paul emphasized that now that we live in the Spirit, we also follow the Spirit. We become a new person that embodies the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That is a tall order! I don’t know about you, but all these fruits do not come naturally to me.

It has been nearly two decades since that night I knelt by my bed and while many of the old sins have been laid to rest, there is the constant battle (as my  kids would say) to give into the dark side. Even things that seem “good” to others can be motivated by the wrong attitude.

In the Gospel, Jesus was reprimanding the Pharisees for their adherence to all the outwards acts of the Law, while in their hearts there was no love. I can’t help but reflect to see if I ever have the same attitude. I think on the times I’ve gone to Mass or said my prayers but more out of habit than to really stop and reconnect with God. Or when I spoke sweetly to my kids in public but lost my temper in the house where no one watching. Can you relate with stories from your life?

God loves us despite our failings but He is not content to let us coast in our faith. We are continuously being challenged and given opportunities to weed out sin and grow in virtue. He gives us the grace to truly live in the Spirit and follow the Spirit.

Which fruit of the Holy Spirit do you struggle with the most? Today intentionally work on building that fruit in your life.

Bobbi Rol is a wife, a mama of four and a blogger learning to love God in the midst of dishes, laundry and swinging light sabers. You can find out more about her here.

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