It is 17th October 2018. We celebrate the memorial of St Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr. The readings are from Galatians 5:18-25; and the Gospel from Luke 11:42-46. Sins against the body such as sexual immorality, witchcraft, selfish ambition, hatred and jealousy if they are not dealt by us sternly, we will not be able to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. The influence and the gifts of the Holy Spirit are experienced by all of us when we make conscious efforts to get rid of the sins that make us to take things for granted and be cool. We all go through the struggles of the desires of the flesh and the need for the guiding and saving presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We begin falling into the same sin because we believe we can handle these sins by ourselves without the help of the Holy Spirit. In the first reading, St. Paul assures us all that as long as Christ lives in us, we are able to produce the gifts of the Spirit of God. Our life needs to be examined, pruned, and mannered by the Holy Spirt. A spiritual harmony is achieved by the way we love and imitate Christ. More we compare with others and envying them destroys the unity of the Spirit and body. A virtuous life is possible for all those deal with their personal life of vice. We are liberated in Christ Jesus, when we are willing to crucify our carnal desires. It is not done once and for all rather it is a daily commitment and effort to get rid of these sins. We must not live like those who are under the slavery of sins. We have to live like people who are liberated by the cross of Christ. Life in the Spirit is our goal of our spiritual life. Spirit is God’s love for us to relate with Jesus and with others. The tension between the spirit and the flesh will go on until we decide with a firm faith in Jesus. A life in Christ is possible for all those who are willing to crucify the deeds of the flesh. “You cannot belong to Christ Jesus unless you crucify all self-indulgent passions and desires. Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit.” (Gal.5:25). The responsorial Verse promises, “Anyone who follows you, O Lord, will have the light of life.” (Jn.8:12). The Gospel points out the vacuum in the minds of the scholars and those who are erudite in one field or the other. Jesus pointed out the Scribes, who became Pharisees, the scholars that they were giving importance to the letter of the law over the spirit of the law. They gave importance to mere observance of law outwardly for their selfish, insincere and man-made practices for some their personal benefits. Jesus chides them that their interpretations cannot become another set of laws. When human interpretations become obstacles for worshiping God, it elevates man over God. Let us be careful in allowing these human interpretations to justify our sinful lives and make us not to come closer to God. Any teaching, interpretations and scholarly defended points that make us to depart from God and the deeds of the Spirit must be shunned by all means as a believer in Christ. We do not need to fight with anyone, let us start our battle against the inclinations of our bodily desires. It is not about how much we have lost the battle but how much seriously we have fought it that matters. That is the one battle need to be fought on a daily basis with the power of faith and personal prayer. May you have a good day. God bless you.

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