Living with Integrity

  • First Reading ‡ Sirach 27:4-7 Do not praise someone before they have spoken.
  • Responsorial ‡ Psalm 91:2-3.13-16 Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
  • Second Reading ‡ 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 Victory has been given to us through Jesus Christ.
  • Gospel ‡ Luke 6:39-45 A person speaks from what is in their heart.
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This gospel is really hard, I found, to respond to because it strikes to the very essence of what it means to be a disciple. I’m sure we all want to be faithful followers of Jesus to be known and marked, at least at some way at some point in our lives as being friends of God. And yet the standard that Jesus is setting here — filled with humour — and I think he needs to use this kind of humour to breakthrough to the essence of our hearts and our experiences to come to that sense of of the different ways that we so often fail to live that integrity. To live that life of faithful discipleship. 

Because it’s so easy to get it wrong. It’s so easy to point to the externals to get caught up in the little details of life and miss this beautiful big picture. I think the focus that our ally averse tonight gives is quite extraordinary. That’s the invitation. Shine on the world like bright stars, for you are offering it the word of life. That’s the treasure. That’s the gift that we’re meant to represent. This gift into the world to be the mirrors of God’s grace of God’s goodness. 

And how do we do? By getting out of the way. How do we do that? By allowing the essence of our own hearts to slowly be transformed. And nothing ever happens that will transform our hearts like suffering like those experiences that allow us to get out of our own little cells and experience this grander, larger picture that encounter with God that, you know, is is truly transforming. 

It’s only when that happens. It’s only when something allows us to recognise that I can’t do this. The judgments that I will make will be too small, they’ll be too narrow. They will be too harsh. The witness that I will want to be again is so much more about my own ego, then about the goodness and grace I’ve got. These parables; these illustrations – are meant to be funny to remind us that in the way of following Jesus, it’s all about this gift of what God is doing. This gift of what God is warning to transform the change that he’s wanting to bring about in our lives over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been listening to this sermon on the plane that is here in the Gospel of Luke and it provides. 

A different structure of understanding than the similar sermon on the mount that we find in the gospel of Matthew. Here Luke is so much more attentive to the needs of the vulnerable, the poor, the broken, and he’s warning us as a church wanting us as people who are wanting to be followers of Jesus to understand that we need to be different, we need to not just be about externalities or just. About the the way that we practise our religion in our faith and and do all those things that are helpful and necessary. But don’t come to the heart of this encounter. What we are invited to do is to examine our hearts to allow that slow transformation of our hearts through the love and mercy of God. 

Through suffering through falling in love through all those different ways that we are able to experience this richer, more beautiful vision of what our lives can be about. That’s why being a follower of Jesus is never something that just happens in an instant. It’s not something that we are able just to turn on or turn off. It’s this slow transformation as we slowly are configured and changed to be more like God. And that’s the work of a lifetime. It’s a work ultimately of God’s grace work, ultimately of God. Revealing this gift to us and slowly opening our hearts to this power that is available to us. A lot of power to make us grander and more beautiful or amazing, or more powerful. But a power that slowly allows us to be transformed and changed by God’s grace and God’s goodness. I think there’s no better way to prepare for the season of Lent that we enter into this week, then slowly acknowledging, hey I can’t do this. I can’t live the life of integrity that I want to live without this goodness of God. Without this grace of God being at work within me. 

So God do this work. Let me be changed and transformed as I slowly let go of all of the agendas and all of the things that are so important to me, but are not necessary for the salvation of souls not necessary for the gift of this transformation that you are so much about. Lord help me too. Live with that, that integrity, helping to slowly allow that transformation. That softening of my heart. I say allow your grace and your gift to slowly heal my sins to heal my wounds, to to let all of those ways in which I don’t live with integrity slowly be changed and transformed into the goodness and the grace that only you are able to provide. 

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