Gospel Message & Recording
In the Gospel Reading today Jesus scolds the Pharisee, Sadducees and Scribes, the “spiritual elites” of his time, by saying they were not willing to repent, or rather change their ways, when John the Baptist came to them in righteousness; however the tax collectors and harlots were willing; therefore, they will enter into the Kingdom of God. It is interesting to note here that Christ was referring to the idea of “change.” That is, how the one type or group of people, were willing to change; but the other, too stubborn and set in their ways, were unwilling.
It is understood that change is difficult. But it can be done! We only need to have the willpower to swallow our pride and make meaningful steps toward change. As Orthodox Christians, we have a tendency to become (if not already) like the spiritual elites. We think we don’t have to change. Or rather there is a certain “enlightenment” that has occurred in the past or present but we are too lazy, or too prideful, to take steps toward making such changes.
Changes are important and should happen in our lives, maybe not on a regular basis, but definitely, every now and then, when we are directed to do so either by spiritual guidance, the stipulation of loved ones who are near and dear to us or by the Spirit of God. Whoever the source may be the ‘ball is on our court’ to make sure we make the change.
What are we changing from? There are many things that need to change in our lives. For example, our sin problem, our prayer life, our action in our marriage, our attitude toward others, our lack of involvement in church…whatever the case may be, we all know that we need to make changes in our lives.
There are a few qualities that I would like to point out about people who are willing to make changes in their life:
Evaluate: I don’t mean we have to sit there and make a flowchart of what changes we need to make, but by evaluating I mean a regular checkup on how you are performing in life. If you have a low success rate in life that means you need to make some changes. Successful people are willing to make changes in their life.
Don’t Get Offended: How often do you get offended when someone points out your faults or flaws? If someone provides us constructive criticism, the ‘ball is on our court’ to evaluate and determine if it is something we can use as a way to make a change. People who get offended often tend to have less control over their emotions; and as a result are not able to think clearly, thus have less success in life.
In conclusion, we should be able and willing to listen and learn from others, rather than thinking we are always right. We should swallow our pride and evaluate our lives. And in the process don’t get offended, receiving everything with a positive mindset.