Sirach, Chapter 7, Verse 6
Do not seek to become a judge if you do not have the strength to root out crime, Lest you show fear in the presence of the prominent and mar your integrity.
Basically, do not start something you cannot finish, or you will damage your honor. Our Lord said something similar to this in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Lk. 9:62)
Integrity is defined as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” In other words, integrity is being honest and doing the right thing, even if it that “right thing” is unpopular, uncomfortable, or not what you want to do. This is really what Christ’s teachings throughout the Gospels are all about, but especially today’s reading. Jesus states:
The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.
It’s about saying one thing, and doing another. It’s about going to Mass, but then speeding out of the church parking lot and cussing out those people who get in your way. So many times, we talk and even teach about doing the right thing, but then we go ahead and do the opposite. Or as the old saying goes, “Do as I say, and not as I do,” right?
The world is full of this. Preaching the gospel, but bowing to greed and power. As Christ continued to say:
“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
This is not a new problem. This problem has been around since the dawn of humanity. Do we take the high road, and not only say the right thing, but do it as well?
Or do we put up a facade and an act in front of others, trying to project a moral image all while thinking the opposite?
This is what Christ was saying to the Pharisees, and it’s what He continues to say to us today:
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”
We cannot put up a facade in front of God. He sees into our hearts. He knows where our true thoughts lie, what our desires are, and we cannot hide it from Him. So why do we try?
We cannot be perfect, but why do we try to think we can hide our thoughts and sins from God?
Why do we think that He won’t see our true hearts?
And why do we think that if we go to Mass, say some prayers every day, serve those in need, and perform other acts of service, but still give into temptation and our selfish desires and vices, that He won’t notice?
God knows. Integrity is not only doing the right thing, but also meaning it. You have to be sincere and honest in your actions, and have no interior motives. You must do things for the love and respect of others, and especially of God, no matter the situation.
Paul wrote in his letter to the Philippians:
“for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need. I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.”
Paul had steadfast integrity and faith in Christ, no matter the situation he was in or the people he was with. Whether it was the wealthy, the poor, or whether he was with the powerful or the weak, Paul knew that his resolute faith in Christ and the integrity to do what was right was first and foremost. He knew how to live and do Christ’s will in any situation regardless of the outcome, was the right way to live. And he never let life’s ups and downs affect his attitude or his way of thinking. Paul had clarity of thought and integrity of action in everything he did, no matter the situation, and that is exactly how he lived, and he challenges us to do the same.
There are so many challenges in today’s world, so many temptations, and so many ways to stray from Christ’s path. It is so easy to get distracted and give in to our troubles, thinking that one little slip-up, or one little cheat here or there won’t hurt a thing.
But there is also a lot of good. Most of us are very fortunate in where we live, and the things we have, and the blessings that God has bestowed upon us. Integrity isn’t only doing the right thing when the going is tough, but it’s also doing the right thing when life is going well.
How do we handle success?
Do we get complacent and full of pride?
Many times, a measure of a person is not how they act when things are going bad, but how they handle success. Paul challenges us to stay focused on Christ and His way in good times and in bad. This will make life a lot more bearable. It is important that no matter the situation in our lives, how bad or how well things are going, that we stay humble and devoted to Christ and diligently embrace our faith and continuously seek His grace through the sacraments. It’s not Gods will that defines where we are at in life, it’s that we are to do God’s will no matter where we are at in life. God sees into our hearts, and knows what our true desires are. Why not open up our hearts and fill them with love and His grace, and let our actions be filled with the integrity to do what is right.
Reflection: Can a catholic vote for the Democratic ticket and still be a person of integrity with God?
Life First 9 Days for Life
9 Days for Life is a "digital pilgrimage" of prayer and action focused on cherishing the gift of every person's life. A multi-faceted novena highlighting a different intention each day provides reflections, bonus information, and suggested actions. Join to receive the novena through the 9 Days for Life app, daily emails, or daily texts. See below for information on how else you can get involved! #9DaysforLife #OurPrayersMatter
Intercession: May the tragic practice of abortion come to an end.
Prayers: Our Father, 3 Hail Mary’s, Glory Be
Reflection: Today, on this 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we mourn the many children’s lives ended by abortion and remember in prayer those who suffer the aftermath. The Church comes together today to pray for the protection of all unborn children and to make reparation for abortion, trusting that the Lord hears our prayers. Pope Saint John Paul II wrote, “A great prayer for life is urgently needed, a prayer which will rise up throughout the world. Through special initiatives and in daily prayer, may an impassioned plea rise to God, the Creator and lover of life, from every Christian community, from every group and association, from every family and from the heart of every believer” (Evangelium vitae, 100). May that prayer arise in our hearts today and each day forward until every human being is protected in law and welcomed in life.
Acts of Reparation (Choose one.)
· Abstain from snacking today. Eat three meals only.
· Learn how to pray the Angelus (www.usccb.org/angelus), and consider saying it every day for the next week—on awakening, at noon, or at 6 p.m. (or all three times).
· Offer some other sacrifice, prayer, or act of penance that you feel called to do for today’s intention.
The legend of how the croissant came to be is that in 1683, the Turkish Empire laid siege on Vienna, Austria. The Turks made several attempts to conquer the city by force, but were unsuccessful, so decided to try underground tunnels. The bakers of Vienna, who worked in the basement storerooms, heard the sound of digging and alerted the cities army. For their vigilance, the bakers received high honors and thanks for their assistance in outwitting the Turks. In celebration, they baked their bread in the shape of a crescent moon—the symbol of the Ottoman Empire. After the Turks were defeated, it became custom to serve morning coffee with the crescent-shaped pastry! The legend continues to say that over a hundred years later, Marie Antoinette introduced the pastry to the French who dubbed it a “croissant”. Celebrate Croissant Day in style by eating an abundance of this tasty treat!
DIRECTIONSDissolve yeast in water. Combine sugar, butter, salt and milk. Add milk mixture and egg to yeast when cool. Stir in flour; beat well. Turn into greased bowl. Cover and let rise in warm place to double in bulk. Turn dough onto lightly floured board; knead for 1 minute. Return to bowl and let rise again to double in bulk. Roll dough to a very thin sheet, about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 5-inch squares. Cut each square diagonally into 2 triangles. Brush with melted butter. Roll triangles, beginning on diagonal. Shape in crescent shape. Place on greased baking sheet, let rise until light. Bake in 400° oven for 15 minutes.