14th Sunday after Pentecost 10.9.17 Holiness
Seek first the Kingdom and all these other things will be given to you.
Our Lord is exhorting us to get things in the right perspective. Are we right with Him? This is the main question to be addressed.
Am I ready to meet Him if I were to die today? Is my soul in a fit state to go before Him?
This is more urgent than whether or not I have enough to eat, or to wear.
The soul is more important than the body; eternal life more important than food and clothing.
So we set about being right with Him. If we are living good lives we continue with that, and still seek to improve.
If we are living lives of sin then we repent, the sooner the better.
We need mercy if we are bad, and grace if we are good. In either state we cannot do it without God.
Grace will enable us to live good lives, helping us to want goodness for its own sake; and seeing through the temptations of the devil.
We will see that the rules God places on us are not burdensome restrictions, but actually a source of joy.
We generally distrust rules and laws when they come from human authority.
But when they come from God it is another matter.
He is always going to be right. If He says thou shalt not something we had better shalt not!
This is not widely known. Many are trying to be happy by getting around God's laws.
No, it is holiness that leads to happiness. Holiness is the new thing. Purity, truth, kindness, gentleness; these are the qualities everyone is looking for. Sin is obsolete!
We can dismiss it all as ‘religious’ language, just the right thing to say, but it is meant to be lived out; waiting to be discovered.
See also the epistle: the fruits of good and evil (Ga 5,19-23).
When we keep God's commands everything falls into place. Like a machine where every part is doing its job.
We can discover this for ourselves individually; and even better if it becomes communal – the kingdom of Heaven, where there is no angry word, no violence, no theft, no impurity, no evil of any kind.
If we do not enjoy such a state it must mean we still need mercy. Mercy will restore us to a state of grace, if we sincerely seek it.
The truths of our faith should be obvious, but we still manage to miss them. The devil obscures the truth and we can miss it.
The present world is filled with confusion as to right and wrong.
We have to clean out the sin, not just partially but completely. Flesh v Spirt, we must decide. Realise there is more to this than most people think about.
To get into Heaven we have to be purified of any and every trace of sin.
We claim the present moment: this moment, and from now on. I will not delay any further.
Either we have lived a good life, or we are sorry we have not. But if we have not, we will keep that firmly in the past, and make a new start at this moment.
It is not just saying ‘Sorry’, but changing attitudes and behaviour.
If motivated by fear (eg on a sinking boat) it may be difficult to generate heartfelt sorrow at that point. We may be too hardened to turn back.
We have to cultivate a spirit of contrition now.
Such that if we did survive a shipwreck we would live differently for the rest of our lives. God knows if we are sincere or not, but if not, He can help us to be so.