Wednesday of the Twenty-eighth Week
(Galatians 5:18-25; Luke 11: 42-46)
Throughout Christianity there have been cynics who see the body as evil. In the first centuries after Christ Docetists claimed that the body was so bad that Christ could not possibly have had one. In more recent times puritan sects have propounded that the body has had to be kept under tight wraps. But the New Testament is unanimous, Christ became incarnate. He had a body which is good.
But the good of the body can be taken over by its own evil inclinations. St. Paul alludes to these inclinations in today’s reading from Galatians. He identifies them as the works of “the flesh.” They are sexual impurity, hatred, selfishness and the like. The flesh’s relationship to the body may be considered as breath inflating a balloon. The balloon moves but is sluggish and heavy. Paul contrasts “the works of the flesh” with “the fruit of the Spirit.” The “Spirit,” of course, is the Holy Spirit. It fills the body with buoyancy. It is like a balloon inflated with helium. The body becomes alive and life -giving. It acts with patience, kindness, generosity, etc.
The Holy Spirit has been imparted to us in Baptism and fortified by the Eucharist. It enables us to be more than loving children and good neighbors. It prepares us for self-sacrifice like Christ’s for those whom we have never met or seen.