English EspaƱol Mary Immaculate
Catholic Church / Pacoima, CA

Guided by The Flesh or by The Spirit

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

“In you, Lord, I have found my peace.”Ps. 131

What does it mean to be guided by the Holy Spirit? These are the children of God, those guided by the Spirit of God. How is this done? By trying not to make decisions based on our own passions and tendencies and by discerning the will of God to act according to the Spirit, which will always be best for us and for others.

In many ways, we can be guided by the flesh. For example, when one doesn’t try to please God or discern His will but simply follows their disordered and selfish desires, which are sinful as they go against God’s explicit will. When instincts and whims take precedence over human reason. Many can be so carried away by their subjectivity, desires, and narrow-mindedness that they ignore common sense, reasoning, intelligence, science, reality, faith, and truth when making decisions in their lives.

The ego wants to selfishly impose its will on others, regardless of what others want and express, seeking to forcefully condition them to submit to its own tyranny of ego. This can even occur in romantic relationships, which is why domestic violence and even crimes are so common. We cannot underestimate the level of chaos caused by an ego without the control of simple human reason and the Spirit that provides control and balance.

“They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for people to see.”Matthew 23

Another example would be those who decide to mutilate themselves and undergo hormonal changes to be something different from what they are, ignoring or not accepting reality. Part of what Jesus asks of us when He says, “Deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow me” refers to this: we need to let go of carnal tendencies that can lead us away from God’s will and harm ourselves and others.

“Walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh…. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”Galatians 5:16ss

In contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things, there is no law.

Therefore, the Word instructs us not to live in the flesh but in the Spirit, as we should no longer be as carnal
as we are spiritual.

“Although I live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God…”Galatians 2:19

“Offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind to seek God’s will, which is good, pleasing, and perfect”Romans 12

“The first among you will be your servant. Whoever exalts themselves will be humbled, and whoever humbles themselves will be exalted”Matthew 23:12

Readings for the Week

Sunday: Mal 1:146 2:26, 8-10/Ps 131:1, 2, 3/1 Thes 2:7b-9, 13/Mt 23:1-12
Monday: Rom 11:29-36/Ps 69:30-31, 33-34, 36/Lk 14:12-14
Tuesday: Rom 12:5-16b/Ps 131:1bcde, 2, 3/Lk 14:15-24
Wednesday: Rom 13:8-10/Ps 112:1b-2, 4-5, 9/Lk 14:25-33
Thursday: Ez 47:1-2, 8-9, 12/Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9/1 Cor 3:9c-11, 16-17/Jn 2:13-22
Friday: Rom 15:14-21/Ps 98:1, 2-3ab, 3cd-4/Lk 16:1-8
Saturday: Rom 16:3-9, 16, 22-27/Ps 145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11/Lk 16:9-15
Next Sunday: Wis 6: 12-16/Ps 63:2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 (26)/1 Thes 4:13-18 or 4:13-14/Mt 25:1-13

Observances for the Week

Sunday: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time; Daylight Saving Time Ends; National Vocation Awareness Week
Tuesday: Election Day
Thursday: The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica
Friday: St. Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
Saturday: St. Martin of Tours, Bishop; Veterans Day
Next Sunday: 32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time