Grace to you!
Tim (not his real name) lived a life of immorality that deprived him of inner peace. He knew repentance was necessary. The grace of metanoia (conversion) was knocking at the door.
He realized how awful his past was, and how distasteful is a life lived only for egoistic pleasurable satisfaction. He apologized to his wife for his past indiscretions; and, by the grace of God, started to enjoy the freedom of living a chaste life. Pleasing the Lord in word and in action became his delight.
This new life experience meant reconsidering his relationships and where he hung out also. He knew he had to do this so as not to backslide to old ways. He made new friends in his church; and believed he found the right support system that would enrich his newfound freedom and joy in the Lord.
As days rolled by, Tim realized his friends in church were living a life inconsistent with what they professed. This included infidelity in their marriage bonds to the extent they explained away the biblical truth for holiness of life in matters of conjugal relationship.
Tim was appalled. More shocking was when some among the group told him that everyone does the same thing; meaning, there is no one who is making an honest and consistent effort to live the gospel and respect the sacredness of sexual relationships, which the gospel reserves for marriage.
Faith and moral crisis due to mixed messages from the so-called friends and believers set in for him. Thank God he had a good spiritual director who walked him through Church teachings and reconfirmed his commitment.
How often we see among so-called believers a lifestyle that is audaciously rebellious to the gospel, as if to say faith and life are incompatible.
Saint Paul was aware that after conversion, or baptism into Christ, much work still needs to be done to constantly align our lifestyle to the truth of the gospel. Having encouraged and praised the young church of Thessalonica for their deepened faith and commitment to Christ amidst the sufferings they face (what we shared in our reflection yesterday), Paul switches the gear to reminding them of the life-style of a believer.
“For this is the will of God,” he says, “your sanctification” (1 Thes 4:3).
He gets specific in explaining what he means by sanctification in this context: Namely, “that you abstain from unchastity; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like heathen who do not know God; that no man transgress, and wrong his brother in this matter” (1 Thes 4:3-5).
In our hyper sexualized world, this message is spot-on. Respecting the sanctity of the sexual act is a mark of holiness. After all, holiness in the first instance means being dedicated to the Lord. If my life is totally dedicated to the Lord, should I not do what pleases God?
As Saint Paul would say, our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19) and we should live our lives in such a way that in word and in action, it glorifies God. This is possible by the grace of God and He has lavishly bestowed that in us through Christ.
May this Pauline message speak to me and to you today: Honor God in your body.
Praying for those who are trapped in one form or another of immorality, for the grace of freedom and purity. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Friday Week 21 Ordinary Time A: 1 Thes 4:1-8; Mt 25:1-13]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.