Once again, Saint Paul shows his nobility of soul in today’s epistle. We can only appreciate his words and praise him for his magnanimity and his good counsel. Nevertheless, let us keep in our minds that an epistle of Saint Paul is not only a beautiful painting that we can admire, but, most importantly, the word of God to which we should listen and apply. God Himself testifies of the value and the strength of his word. Psalm 118 says: “the beginning of thy word is truth.” It also says : “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my paths.”
As pilgrims moving toward our celestial homeland, we need the word of God in order to head in the right direction. The word of God is always available for us. We only have to open our Bible, to read it and meditate on it. Many non-Catholics do it every day. I hope you do too.
In fact, the word of God is also “living and effectual and more piercing than any two edged sword; and reaching unto the division of the soul and the spirit, of the joints also and the marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4,12) So, woe are those who hear the word of God but yield no fruit because they don’t follow it. Remember and heed the parable of the seed we hear every year on Sexagesima Sunday!
Today, the word of God given by Saint Paul reminds us of our duties as disciples of Jesus Christ. The epistle chosen by the Church for today is a perfect continuation of last Sunday’s epistle, taken from the Epistle to the Galatians in which the Apostle reminds us of the works of the flesh and the works of the spirit. We learn that the works of the flesh lead to perdition. Today Saint Paul urges us to “walk in the Spirit.” He invites us to change our behavior toward our neighbors.
Indeed, we like to criticize and to judge our neighbors. We like to show them that we are better than they. It even happens sometimes that we take pleasure from their misfortune. This is not exactly the mark of greatly noble soul. Saint Paul knows our bad inclinations and as a good master, he pushes us to act against them. Instead of being a burden to our neighbors, he asks us to lighten theirs: “Bear ye one another’s burden!”
But, it is not about helping a friend. Anybody can do this. No, we have to bear the burden of our neighbor, whomever he may be, even though we don’t have a natural liking for him. Saint Paul is very clear about this: by doing this, we fulfill the law of Christ.
It is not easy. It is a gloomy prospect. We like our own little comforts so much that we think we are enough of our own burdens. A short prayer for the others will be enough to keep our conscience clear. But that’s not walking in the Spirit. That’s not being a true disciple of Jesus Christ. That’s not the ideal of a Christian life proposed by the great Apostle who says again: “And in doing good, let us not fail.”
Too often we are tempted to say: “ It’s enough! I have already done so much.” Dear brethren, that is not true. We could never do enough good in comparison of the evil we have done. Just think, we can’t even make a perfect and just reparation for one mortal sin. Fortunately, Christ did it for us, but it is not a reason to give up our efforts and sacrifices.
No, dear Brethren, it is never enough. We must continue to do good until our last breath. We have to be brave. We have to be generous. We have to be strong. Be sure that God gives his grace for this.
May Our Lady help us to fulfill the law of Christ. May she inspire us the good things to do for the love and the glory of God.