Sunday, May 27, 2012

Living in the Spirit

Praised be Jesus, Mary, and Joseph!

3 figures were at the spotlight this week: Lady Gaga, Jessica Sanchez, and Chief Justice Corona. I won’t go into the joke about them because I suppose you heard of it already. Let us talk about Lady Gaga whose 2 night concert in Pasay City was highly successful and was also very controversial. First, the concert was banned by the Indonesian government who judged it as dangerous to morals of society (good for them). The concert met protests from a small Christian group which, unfortunately, was immediately tagged as “conservative.” This “conservative” tag is unfortunate because the world today has a bias against “conservatives” and regards them as narrow-minded, bigots, or at least, intolerant of differences. Live and let live – we are told. The issue here is “differences”. Lady Gaga simply sings, dresses, and acts differently and so we have to respect this, so we are told.

Is there a pronounced difference concerned? The answer is definitely “yes”. But the difference is not between Lady Gaga and the world we live in because apparently, she is the best spokesperson of the world. The difference is between those who live in the flesh and those who live in the Spirit. “Live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want.” Lady Gaga’s philosophy is a very obvious way of thinking in the flesh: “Do what you want.” She said in her Manila concert: "Some people say I stand for things that are bad. The truth is, I want the best for every single one of you. My lifestyle is like one whole performance of liberation... for those of you who aren't free. Take this opportunity to free yourself." St. Paul says: “The works of the flesh are obvious: immorality, impurity, lust, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, factions, occasions of envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like…Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” The “difference” which is at issue is the difference between truth and lies. Obviously, in courts of law, truth and lies cannot be appreciated as of equal footing. The difference between truth and lie cannot be simply swept under the rug and pretend, in the name of tolerance, that they can co-exist peacefully.

St. Paul reminds us that if we live according to the Spirit, we must reject what belongs to the flesh: “Those who belong to Jesus have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, we must follow the Spirit.” And this Spirit who we should follow is the Spirit of truth: “he will guide you to all truth.” Living in truth is not doing what the flesh dictates. Living in truth is doing the will of God. The Holy Spirit does not speak on his own or act on his own. He says what he hears from Jesus and does what he was sent to do. And so he is the Spirit of truth. What he says and does comes from him who called himself as the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

It is the Holy Spirit who glorifies Jesus by testifying to him. If we live in the Spirit, we will also glorify Jesus by testifying that we belong to him. Our witness to him is manifested by the fruits of the Holy Spirit in our lives: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Let us live in the Spirit by following the Spirit. Let us not be deceived by the world that cannot give what the Holy Spirit gives. Let us have nothing to do with the works of darkness. We are not simply talking here of differences in preferences. What we speak of refers to light and darkness, good and evil, salvation and condemnation. Let us live as children of light. 

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

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