Rom 8, 1-11
Thus, condemnation will never come to those who are in Christ Jesus, because the law of the Spirit which gives life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. What the Law could not do because of the weakness of human nature, God did, sending his own Son in the same human nature as any sinner to be a sacrifice for sin, and condemning sin in that human nature. This was so that the Law’s requirements might be fully satisfied in us as we direct our lives not by our natural inclinations but by the Spirit.
Those who are living by their natural inclinations have their minds on the things human nature desires; those who live in the Spirit have their minds on spiritual things. And human nature has nothing to look forward to but death, while the Spirit looks forward to life and peace, because the outlook of disordered human nature is opposed to God, since it does not submit to God’s Law, and indeed it cannot, and those who live by their natural inclinations can never be pleasing to God. You, however, live not by your natural inclinations, but by the Spirit, since the Spirit of God has made a home in you. Indeed, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But when Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive because you have been justified; and if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead has made his home in you, then he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your own mortal bodies through his Spirit living in you.
The last texts of the readings have shown us the seriousness of the struggle against sin, a struggle from which no one can escape if he wants to take a serious path of following Christ. It is even said at one point in the New Testament: “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.“ (Heb 12,4).
It is therefore necessary to give a complete rejection of sin, neither to trivialise it and thus to play with it; rather better to die than consciously live in a mortal sin. So far this decision can go!
Both the text of today’s reading and the Gospel draw our attention to this. The disordered longing of the flesh is enmity against God, and it is wise to follow the scripture and the true doctrine of the Church and not to listen to those voices that want to justify and trivialise sin. This is not love at all, because in trivialising perverse attitudes one does not have the salvation of man in mind, but promotes the disordered passions of the flesh, which leads to death.
The Gospel of today is also unmistakable (Lk 13,1-9). Those who do not convert are under the threat of death.
Something else is when we have really made the basic decision to avoid sin and become weak. God’s mercy is always ready to forgive and lift us up. There is no doubt about that.
However, the texts of the day also show us the way out of this dilemma. It is a life according to the Spirit of God: But when Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive because you have been justified.
And also the Gospel gives us a hint:
He said to his vinedresser, “For three years now I have been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and finding none. Cut it down: why should it be taking up the ground?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it one more year and give me time to dig round it and manure it: it may bear fruit next year; if not, then you can cut it down.” (Lk 13,7-9)
Anyone who follows the daily interpretations will notice that this is the area I have already talked about: that something can be made up. In the context of the Gospel, this is said now under the serious threat that one can miss the destination.
It is therefore life according to the Spirit of the Lord that can produce the fruits that the Lord wants to see in with the words of the gospel. Let’s look at yesterday, when we started talking about how important it is to overcome wrath, for example. There we encounter the fruit of the spirit of mildness, which makes man the Lord of himself and provides for inner peace.
(Father Gabriel O.C.D. Mystery of Friendship of God, Third Volume, 41: The Mildess)
“The purpose of mildness is to tame, to pacify and thus to make the soul able to become the mistress of herself and also to remain calm in the face of difficult and excitable circumstances.”
It is important not only in dealing with other people, but also for the life of prayer and association with God.
“God cannot be found in the vortex of arousal, but only in the inner rest. If the soul is aroused even a little by angry feelings, it cannot perceive neither the gentle impulses of grace nor the silent whispering of divine expressions. The roar of passions prevents her from lending the ear to the inner teacher; to perform his guidance, and does no longer act according to divine leading, but is carried away by the whims of her instinct, which will lead her to make mistakes.”
Let us therefore ask for the Spirit of the Lord to permanently root in him.
In terms of anger, there is also the “holy wrath” we encounter in the Lord when He cleanses the temple (cf. Joh 2,13-22). It exists, but it should not be claimed too quickly for ourselves.
As a rule, we can unite with the prayer of the Venerable Ludwig Da Ponte:
“As soon as I notice that the wrath is flaring up in me, I will gather my strength, not with impetuousness, but with gentleness, not with violence, but gently; I will seek to restore my peace of the heart. But knowing that I cannot do it on my own, I will try to call on your help, just as the apostles were in need when storms thrown around by the raging sea, and called on you.”