I hope you’re hungry, because we get a veritable banquet of spiritual insight in today’s readings! Our Gospel reading today is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain from Luke 6. It begins with the beatitudes. The difference between’s Luke’s version and Matthew’s is that here Jesus gives the other side of the coin. Half of what Jesus says today begins with “Blessed are…” The other half starts with “Woe to you…” Check it out.
In the first reading from Colossians 3, St. Paul tells us to “seek what is above” and “Think of what is above.” Sounds easy enough, right? Er…maybe not so much. So, St. Paul gives us the way to really begin and grow in that process of always thinking about and seeking what is above. “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” He goes on to say “…you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.”
When I look back at my “old self,” the person I was before I gave my life to Christ, I shudder. I did and said and thought lots of very bad stuff. I have to say that I have certainly put on “the new self.” But don’t think for a moment that I am complacent. I constantly have to beat back the “old self,” as many of those old thought patterns and desires are always lurking in the darkness, waiting to pounce in my weak moments. As far as I can tell, the “old self” and the “new self” will always be in conflict. The good news is that Christ, the creator of the “new self” is much more powerful than the one who has charge of the “old self.” As we lean more and more on Christ’s strength, the “new self” will win out more and more.
Father, help us to put to death the “old self,” that the new creation we have become in Christ Jesus will shine out into the world. Amen.
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