Commentary on the Gospel of
This is the will of God, your holiness: That you refrain from immorality… not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter…Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians. 4:3 & 8)
Reflecting on this passage from scripture for today takes me back to the historical memory of the Hebrew people who left Egypt with Moses as he revealed God’s messages to them. Actually, it is a story of sin and grace, we have been following over the past month or more. They crossed the desert, received the Law, the 10 Commandments, to guide them in their relationship with God and one another. They were not only on a physical journey to the “promised land” but also on a spiritual journey living out the Covenant God made with them as a people.
They traveled, prayed, rejoiced in God’s presence, were disappointed, despaired, built false gods, constructed golden idols, immorality was a way of living. They repented, begged forgiveness, transformed their lives, and made it to the promise land.
Centuries later, we meet Jesus who is faithful to the Judaic Law and came to fulfill the Law with a similar and more concise message. Love of God, neighbor, and self. His message was one of reverence, hospitality, care for the oppressed and forgiveness. Immorality has no place in living a Christian life of Faith, Hope and Charity. Paul reminds us of this in his Letter to the Thessalonians.
Today we celebrate the feast of St. Monica. She is known to be the patron saint for married women, difficult marriages, disappointing children, victims of adultery or unfaithfulness, victims of abuse, and conversion of relatives. Wow! Is this a reflection of the life of St. Monica? She was in fact in a difficult marriage and experienced much of why she was named to be the patron. We know her best as the mother of St. Augustine who led a rather lurid life until through Monica’s fidelity and prayers to God, Augustine experienced conversion and became a theologian, philosopher, Bishop, Saint, and Doctor of the Church. St. Monica was an amazingly strong woman of Faith, Hope and Charity.
We are all on a spiritual journey. Our readings today provide a map for our own examination of conscience. Within our own cultural history of sin and grace, we can see that there are difficult marriages, parents disappointed in their children, children abused by adults, the building of our own golden idols, exploitation, and a basic lack of reverence for life.
Are we awake and alert to the Light of Christ that dwells within each of us? Our own holiness? Does the light within you seem dim and in need of refreshing? Can we share what we have to help bring healing and wholeness to our world and each other? I think the five Virgins in the Gospel were rather selfish in not sharing their oil. (Just another perspective!) We are called to community to be, as St. Ignatius of Loyola teaches, women and men for and with others.
Let’s heed these words of St. Paul, This is the will of God, your holiness: That you refrain from immorality…not to take advantage of or exploit a brother or sister in this matter…Therefore, whoever disregards this, disregards not a human being but God, who also gives his Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thes. 4:3 & 8
It is never too late for a moment of conversion! It is never too late to turn our hearts to God restoring and recognizing our holiness. It is never too late to let the LIGHT, shine out from within us.
God is a God of Mercy and Forgiveness.