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The Fruit of Gentleness

Reflection on Mass Reading for June 1, 2017

Gentleness is the spirit and attitude behind repentance. To “repent” in a biblical sense is to change one’s mind and believe that God is right. Repentance is necessary for salvation, and we need to carry an attitude of repentance in a gentle spirit our entire life. God is right. Our point of view is limited, misguided, and self-seeking. A gentle heart will accept God’s wisdom and yield to His discernment. We can only be gentle as the Holy Spirit develops spiritual fruit in our lives. Every human being has power, therefore is powerful. We can speak words that influence others; we can act in ways that help or hurt; and we can choose what influences will inform our words and actions. Gentleness constrains and channels that power, as in self-control. To be gentle is to recognize that God’s ways and thoughts are high above our own.

The Pharisees and Sadducees in today’s Gospel were hardly glowing examples of the fruit of Gentleness. They basically wanted to prove themselves right and push their power around like an empty wheelbarrow. “A dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three. A great uproar occurred.” The best lesson for all of us today that clearly describes and illumines what it means to live a Christian life and follow Jesus is and what it is not, and what a promise we have. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.” The poor Pharisees and Sadducees, only intent on being right, are standing right in front of the Word made Flesh, the Resurrection and the Life, the Son of God—and still cannot see past their own self-righteous noses. Today, we can see that perfectly, but the real challenge is to catch such a pathetic attitude in ourselves. Let us, you and me, today and every day, accept God’s wisdom and humbly accept His will for us. The Father created us in love, Jesus has planted that seed of grace in us and the Holy Spirit, if we allow, will bring that seed into great fruition in a great and humble life.

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