Feast of Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist
Ephesians 4:1-7, 11-13
“Brothers and sisters: I, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace: one Body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the Body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ."
Our Lord Jesus expects his disciples to be perfect as their heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48). Saint Paul admonishes the Church in Ephesus to live out the practical aspects of holiness:
“…live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace…”
A daily examination of conscience each morning, at bedtime, and in between, helps me to identify my sins and shortcomings. A daily consecration to our Lady also helps me to properly dispose myself to God’s will as it manifests itself in the course of the day. If there is an incident that makes me act or feel boastful; I ask my guardian angel to help me be humble. If an incident occurs that requires me to correct my children, an employee, or a co-worker, I have to remind myself to be gentle and to do it in the manner I would like to be corrected. If someone makes me angry, then I try to deal with them patiently. In church ministry, I have to make a special effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit.
I might have the head knowledge of what’s required to be a disciple of Jesus, but to “live in a manner worthy of the call you have received” on a daily bases, it takes God’s grace to help me gradually die like a seed so as to bring forth new life. If I feel the smallest prick from someone’s words or actions, then I know I’m still not dead in this particular area. I’m afraid for most of us, it’s a life-long process to die to ourselves. There is such a thing as a ‘righteous anger’ that demands corrective action quickly if it brings grave harm to the Body of Christ or an innocent person - this could be true at home, at school, at work, at church or in society in general. Aside from that, our personal sanctification requires daily prayer, frequently availing ourselves to the Sacraments, visiting our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and loving our neighbor, starting at home with our own family, and the circle of people in our lives “bearing with one another through love” as our Lord taught us, and as Saint Paul reminds us here.