In some ways, this short reading may be the most difficult of all this week’s meditations because it strikes at the heart.
Someone very close to me has an oft repeated mantra- “It’s not what you say you believe, but the way you live your life that matters” (italics mine). And she’s right of course. It is a fact that people watch people, and any slight deviation from what others think our standards are will attract derision and mocking and sarcasm, but worse than that, will create a negative impression of ‘Christianity’ in the eyes of non believers. Many in society look upon Christians as deluded dreamers and relish any opportunity to ridicule us and write us off as “a bunch of hypocrites”. The fact that our failings in no way reflect the truth of the Gospel is lost on others, they simply react to what they see, and who can blame them?
Hence the importance of living every hour of every day in a way that brings glory to God and attracts others, who then want to know “What is the secret of your peace filled life?” Now, what’s difficult about that? Well, everything actually. Why? Because our natural inclination is to do our own will rather than God’s will, because often that is inconvenient or too costly or any other excuse we can find to avoid it. Was it Robert Burns who said “Oh, that we might see ourselves as others see us!”? If others see us as people they want to engage with because we have something that they want too, then we can truly be witnesses for Christ.
Holy Father, through the guidance of Your Spirit, may we see others through Your eyes, Your eyes of compassion and grace. Inspire us to live lives that reflect Your peace and joy and love, that we may reach out to others and bring them to knowledge of You. Through Your Spirit, may our lives be a sweet smelling sacrifice to You and a blessing to all we meet. Amen.
11 to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you,