"Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
A certain businessman was acclaimed as a philanthropist. He was a popular figure. Newspapers carried ads and write-ups on his birthday extolling his virtues. And this was proclaimed even louder when he died.
But the truth was different. He was heavily involved in real estate and had manipulated prices to his own advantage, far beyond the reach of ordinary people. He had cleverly concealed his dishonest deals and worked his way up by bribing politicians and officials. And he had lived an immoral life.
Today’s readings are about being led by the Spirit or being led by the flesh, about the ways of the righteous or the ways of the wicked, and about true virtue versus hypocrisy.
We yearn for the world’s approval. We hanker after wealth, power and fame without losing sleep over the morality of our conduct.
And when we attain them we think we are beyond reproach.
We “neglect justice and the love of God” (Lk 11:42). We see wrongdoing in the world but do not speak out against it for fear of insulting someone – unlike Jesus whom even the lawyer complained about (Gospel). We build a world of superficial, conceited and false values and lose sight of what will earn us ‘the kingdom of God’ (Focus).
Fruit: For each thing I think, say or do, can I discern whether I am led by the Spirit or by the flesh?