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PERSEVERANCE AND KEEPING THE LAW

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

Col. 1:21-23 & Lk. 6:1-5

Saint Paul is full of praise for the Colossians. Not long ago in thought and behaviour they were enemies to God, but now through the death of Christ are reconciled to Him. A complete conversion has taken place. He describes them as “holy, pure and blameless” but he cautions them that this will only continue if they “persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith,” never letting themselves drift away from the hope promised by the Good News.

The key word is perseverance which can be the most challenging virtue. It is so lacking in many people’s lives today. Is this not so why so many marriages fail? It is easy to persevere when the sun shines and all is well, but when the clouds of discontent and hardship appear on the horizon couples split. Mothers and fathers walk away from their responsibilities and cause great damage to themselves and their children. If only they were generous and not selfish, showed character and remained together, then they would enjoy the rewards of perseverance. Then their relationship would be even stronger. Ask any married couple or priest on their Golden Anniversaries what brought them to this day and they would tell you perseverance. All walks of life are hard. One wise saying of our Capuchin Brother, St. Crispin of Viterbo was, “One doesn't get to Heaven in a taxi!"

It is Christ Who empowers us to continue in our faith and persevere in our duties. Life is sure to be burdensome if we do not rely on Him. Not one of us can be certain of our salvation. But if we have the Spirit of Jesus in our hearts how can we possibly fail? He will expect us to be faithful to our prayer life, our Catholic practices and doing good on a daily basis whenever and however we can. Only then can we hope for the reward that God promises.

In the Gospel the objection of the Pharisees seems very petty and small minded. Does it really matter if people pluck and shell a few grains of wheat while they walk through the field whether it be the Sabbath or not? Of course Jesus’ action is always right but I am surprised He even took the trouble to answer them! In responding He reminded them of what happened when David and his men were hungry. The priest in the House of God gave them the loaves of offering which only the priests are allowed to eat. Jesus here indicated that love supersedes everything. In so many words Jesus was telling the Pharisees to stop their nit-picking and concern themselves with the things that really matter. When the Pharisees made their point there was no love in their heart for Jesus or His apostles. Their one aim was to indicate how much better they were than Jesus and His Apostles because they kept the Law – except it was, of course, only their small minded interpretation of the Law!

Lord Jesus, give each one of us the grace of perseverance. In our dealings with others may we always act out of love for others and not belittle them.

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