The Gospel reading today is the beginning of the Sermon on the Plain from Luke 6. We know them as the beatitudes. There are slight differences in Luke’s version and Matthew’s version from the Sermon on the Mount. Most notable is that Jesus addresses these sayings directly to His hearers. “Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.”
In the first reading from Colossians 3, St. Paul talks about how we used to be. At least, I hope it is in the past. Or maybe not. Maybe these are things that we still struggle with, even though we have committed our lives to Christ. “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when you lived in that way. But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths. Stop lying to one another.”
As I look at these lists from St. Paul, I hope that I am doing better than I used to. Time was when I engaged in all those behaviors, without even giving a second thought as to whether they were right or wrong. But now I know better. Yet still I struggle with these things. Let’s pray that God will make us ever more aware of the things we do that offend Him, and ask for the grace and strength to put the earthly parts of us to death, to put away the bad stuff, and replace it with the good.
Father, help us to act in accord with your will. Give us the strength to put to death the old ways, and live for you. Amen.
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