1 Timothy 3:14-16
I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is great:
He was revealed in flesh,
vindicated in spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among Gentiles,
believed in throughout the world,
taken up in glory.
Praise the Lord!
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
Full of honor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
He has gained renown by his wonderful deeds;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
He provides food for those who fear him;
he is ever mindful of his covenant.
He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the heritage of the nations.
“To what then will I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
we wailed, and you did not weep.’
For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Nevertheless, wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”
In his letter to Timothy, St. Paul treats on how to behave in the household of God, which is “the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.” Immediately, he launches into that truth, the mystery of our religion, which is the life, death, and resurrection of the Christ and His continued work in the world through the Holy Spirit’s actions among the believers. Clearly, then, how we behave should flow from our awareness of who we are in Christ, and who Christ is.
Contrast this with Jesus’s reproach of His generation in the gospel. He compares the people to children who do not know how to behave, you are moved neither by cheerfulness nor sadness, who understand neither the Christ Himself nor His prophet John the Baptist. They see things through the lens that suits them, and always are able to criticize. So they condemn the prophet who lives a life of asceticism without understanding from him how to be detached from the world, the flesh, and inordinate attachment to what is passing and remain in their sins. And they condemn the Christ rather than understanding that He is the one in which to find the comfort, sustenance, and rejoicing they seek, criticizing the bridegroom and turning from Him to remain in their sins rather than rejoice in His presence.
Today, whether we are in a state of joy and comfort or struggle and self-denial, let’s ask ourselves how we are behaving and where we are getting our cues? Are we meditating on the person of Jesus, and finding our security in Him and exhibiting virtues? Or are we lost in our own desires, insecure and critical of all, and indulging negative states of mind and behaviors? If we are stuck in our flesh and misbehaving, let us lift our minds to Jesus, to the great mystery of our faith, and humbly ask Him to lift us up.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I love You, and I desire to know You more and to be attentive to the voice of Your Holy Spirit. Help me to fast from criticism, negativity, and self-centeredness, and to behave as a friend of the bridegroom who is radiant in Your presence and who feasts on and delights in what is true, virtuous, and good. Saints Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn and Paul Chŏng Ha-sang, and Companions, pray for us.