Today’s reading gives us two lists—a list of the fruits of the Holy Spirit that we need to nurture, and a list of the works of the flesh that we need to eliminate from our lives. Neither of the lists is exhaustive, but they are a good place to begin our search for holiness. Paul challenges the Galatians—and us—to ensure that our lives truly reflect our faith.
18 Brothers and sisters: If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, 21 occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 22 In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
R: Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.
1 Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, 2 but delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night. (R) 3 He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. Whatever he does, prospers. (R) 4 Not so the wicked, not so; they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 6 For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes. (R)
In life, we get distracted by little things and miss what really matters. The devil uses this tactic to lead us away from a life of true holiness. He will trap us in the minutiae of the Christian life, so we never address the big issues we need to face in order to really grow. The enemy is happy to distract us from God’s will and render us ineffective in our work for the Kingdom.
My sheep hear my voice, says the Lord; I know them, and they follow me.
42 The Lord said: “Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God. These you should have done, without overlooking the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! You love the seat of honor in synagogues and greetings in marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! You are like unseen graves over which people unknowingly walk.” 45 Then one of the scholars of the law said to him in reply, “Teacher, by saying this you are insulting us too.” 46 And he said, “Woe also to you scholars of the law! You impose on people burdens hard to carry, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”