Vigilance, Integrity and Righteousness

WEDNESDAY: Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Vigilance, Integrity and Righteousness

At baptism, during the imposition of the “White Garment”, the newly baptised are admonished to “See in this white garment the outward sign of your Christian dignity … bring that dignity unstained into the everlasting life of heaven.”[1] In other words, very early in our Christian journey towards the kingdom of heaven, we learn the following: we must be vigilant, we must be a people of integrity and we must strive as hard as we can to maintain our righteousness with God. Every action, every sacramental used during the execution of the Sacrament of Baptism are outward signs of the inward grace we receive to make us perfect children of God and to reflect the true nature of Christ in our day to day transactions in the world.

St. Paul although he never mentioned Baptism in his discourse today, but inexplicitly he alludes to our baptismal garment and our Baptismal Promise – especially when he challenges us to protect the sanctity and integrity of our bodies, using them as weapons fighting on the side of righteousness since we are living by grace and not by the law (Rom.6:12-14). Paul, in other words, is forcefully reminding us, we are custodians of holiness and the enemies of sin. Moreover, we are no longer slaves; we are free men and women in Christ by the power of God’s grace at work in our mortal bodies. God consecrated us to himself in Christ Jesus (Rom.6:15-19).

Slavery has negative implications in history throughout the world. Its victims as well as their descendants who recall the grueling, harrowing, most dehumanizing scar etched into the memory of many generations. History of this kind must never repeat itself. The story of the prodigal son, his encounter with rejection, and his struggles in the pigsty is reminiscent of the things Paul is admonishing against – this kind of self-imposed slavery. When we become slaves of sin, slaves of an irresponsible secular lifestyle, totally disregarding grace and faith we will eventually end up in the pit of slavery again.

Jesus in Luke 12:39-46 is cautioning us to be scrupulous administrators and stewards of the grace we received in Baptism and in fact all the sacraments. We must behave conscientiously. Caritas and Filial love must govern our actions. Compassion, love, mercy and solidarity must dictate the outcome of the spontaneous accountability of our stewardship if Christ should come to us unexpectedly. There will always be a day of reckoning. We just do not know the date, the day or the hour. Therefore, vigilance, integrity and righteousness must be our measuring stick to see where we are progressing or when we are regressing. Will we take up this challenge today?

Lord, keep my whole being focused on utilizing your grace, reproducing your fruits and always prepared to give a true account of my stewardship when you come again.

[1] Rite of Baptism for Children, Catholic Publishing Co. New Jersey, 2004, p.85-86

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