“Seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2)
In today’s first reading, St. Paul clearly defines the true essence of Christianity when he says: “If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above… put to death what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness which is idolatry. Put away anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another.”
Over two thousand years ago, Jesus gave us the beatitudes, which may be referred to as the be-attitudes of His followers; that is to say, the attitudes that we must possess. Unlike Matthew’s version, Luke presents blessings and curses.
Be poor in spirit; do not be haughty, rude or arrogant. Be eager for salvation. Do not simply gloss over evil in the world. Do not be indifferent to the problem of immorality, indecency and corruption. Of course, fighting evil and injustice by shining your light will create more enemies than friends for you. Jesus says we should rejoice even in our sufferings for His sake.
Jesus says: “Woe to you that are rich… that are full now… that laugh now… when all men speak well of you…” This statement of Jesus is quite scary, considering that these are the very things that we often strive to attain. What is wrong with being rich, eating to our full, laughing or enjoying a positive reputation?
To this question, St. John answers: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. The love of the Father is not in those who love the world, for all that is in the world– the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, the pride in riches– comes not from the Father but from the world. And the world and its desire are passing away, but those who do the will of God live forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Also, St. James adds: “Those conflicts and disputes among you, where do they come from? Do they not come from your cravings that are at war within you? …You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore, whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:1-4)
Let us put to death our earthly passions and desires. Aspire for sainthood instead of aspiring to be rich. Instead of working to achieve fame and glory and be spoken of highly by people, devote your time towards securing a seat in heaven.
Bible Study: Colossians 3:1-11, Ps. 145:2-3,10-13a, Luke 6:20-26).
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu