Scripture Reading: Matthew 5:20
Quite often, two things try to make mockery of the righteousness that the Lord desires from us. One: we tend to see righteousness from the effort we have put in to serve God like fasting, praying, attending retreats, going to church or attend fellowship, praying for people, etc. Secondly, in certain externalities, like modifications in what we eat or drink or other kind of acts that tend to cordon us off from people we think are not righteous. But none of these are the righteousness call we are mandated to answer today. No wonder, Prophet Isaiah says, “But we are all like unclean thing. And all our righteousness are like filthy rags.” (Isa 64:6) Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary shares some knowledge about righteousness as, “Holy and upright living, in accordance with God’s standard. The word righteousness comes from a root word that means ”straightness.” Righteousness is a moral concept. God’s character is the definition and source of all righteousness… Man cannot be righteous in the sight of God on his own merits. Therefore, man must have God’s righteousness imputed, or transferred, to him. We do not become righteous because of our inherent goodness; God sees us as righteous because of our identification by faith with His Son.” Beloved in Christ, we are righteous if in a very simplified term our holiness of life is a character of Christ manifesting in us. It is what Paul describes to us, that it is no longer Paul that lives but Jesus Christ who now lives in Him. Everything that mattered to him before his encounter with Jesus Christ, he now considered as useless just to be pleasing to Him. (Eph. 3:7-9a) St. Paul further said,” I no longer have the righteousness of my own, the kind that is gained by obeying the law. I now have the righteousness that is given through faith in Christ, the righteousness that comes from God and is based on faith.” ( Eph. 3:9b) That means righteous is manifesting the life of Christ according to the mind of Christ. Righteousness means a holistic spirituality drawn from what has been learnt due to our encounter with our Lord Jesus. It is the manifestation of the character of Christ. Thus man is able to live a chaste life because he/she has learnt it from Christ and by the grace
drawn from Him. We overcome gossiping and backbiting because it is no longer what I want to do that happens in my life but what Christ wants to be done. We are no longer proud because we have learnt from Christ to live a humble life. We are no longer having issues with friends and neighbours because Christ has taught in the Bible about living in harmony with one another. In all these, it is the Lord who justifies us holy or righteous. For instance God confirmed the righteousness of Job and boasted of him to Satan. He said to him (Satan), ”Did you notice my servant Job?” the Lord asked. “There is no one on earth as faithful and good as he is. He worships me and is careful not to do anything evil.” (Job 1:8) The Lord is the one who certifies our holiness. Thus if there is a thought in your heart that because of what you are doing for the Lord these days, you are rightly confirmed as righteous, just know that self-righteousness is lurking around the corner. Above all, true righteousness absolves all the shock of true love, as recorded in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
Rom 10:9-18; Ps 19:2-3.4-5. (R. 5a); Accl Mt 4:19; Mt 4:18-22.
Feast of Saint Andrew, Apostle
1. Thank you Lord for teaching me something about righteousness.
2. Every trace of self-righteousness be erased from my life, in Jesus name.
3. Lord, help me not to pride about being holy again in Jesus name.
4. God help me not to concern myself about righteousness but strive to please You
5. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
Exercise: Go before the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and like the Publican, show how woeful you are.
Memory Verse: Matthew 6:1