Be filled with the Holy Spirit (cf. Ephesians 5:18)

On the first Sunday of Lent, we heard the exhortation of the Holy Apostle Paul to the Ephesians: “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (5:8). That is, stop being partakers of the deeds of darkness, which are shameful. And the admonition is, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is destruction, but be filled with the Spirit” (5:15-18). The Apostle wants to say, “Do not get drunk with the pleasures of the world, but with the grace of the Holy Spirit.” This is the Lenten exhortation, but also the permanent exhortation for a Christian.

How do we do this? First, this must be our permanent concern. Just as a businessman who always tries to make a profit, especially in America, and thinks every day about what else to do, what else to invest in, let us with the same concern think about how we work out our salvation, and how we enrich ourselves in God. We need to multiply the talents that have been given to us with the same care that every businessman has in this world, in finding out how to increase his wealth. In the same way, we must think about what we can do to attract a bit of grace.

In particular, we have Sunday – the Lord’s Day, which in practice is a caricature for Christians because, in fact, we have inherited much of the Jewish Sabbath, which involves not doing anything on this day. That is why one teacher observed that we have turned Sunday into the Sabbath. But perhaps, this is not the point. The Lord’s Day belongs to the Lord.  Just as you work 6 days for the family, you also work for God, but otherwise, we should also work with the same effort, the same commitment, for God. We go to church, and then that’s it; we rest. That is not Lord’s Day. Going to church, yes; but not the rest.  We should at least work 8 hours for Him, which can mean: spiritual reading, going to the hospital and visiting a sick person, talking to someone suffering from depression, or whatever else can be done that day. So, the idea is to concern myself with the Lord on Sundays with the same intensity with which I worry about material things during the week.

The Gospel in general, and the parable of the Final Judgment in particular, presents to us concrete acts by which to serve the Lord and which offer much grace; they give an instant reward. Then we will see what it means to be a Christian. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. Through these acts aligned with the Gospel we succeed in this. Not by watching TV and wondering about how beautifully one or another priest speaks. He may speak, but he does not bring me the grace I need, because I need it to move me, to engage me; by the sweat of my brow, I must work for God.