In the Gospel of today’s Eucharist, Jesus says to Pharisees and the scholars of the Law, “You impose on people burdens hard to carry” (Lk 11:46).
We might be tempted to turn the question on Christ himself. And you, do you not impose on people burdens hard to carry? In the first reading of this day from Galatians, we hear the list of those burdens. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. . . . If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit” (5:22).
Live love, serving God and doing the best for the neighbor without conditions.
Live joy, celebrating with unshakeable confidence in all circumstances, good and bad.
Live peace, being in harmony with oneself and others.
Live patience, remaining calm in difficult and disturbing experiences.
Live kindness, showing sensibility and care toward others.
Live generosity, providing magnanimously for others’ needs.
Live faithfulness, dedicating self to God and to living by God’s Word.
Live gentleness, offending no one.
Live self-control, mastering the self.
Given the Christian spiritual burdens, Christ is not like the scholars of the Law who “do not lift one finger to touch them [the burdens]." The finger Christ lifted to touch the burdens of discipleship was the act of his liberating death and resurrection. Christians are free for the New Law by the power of Jesus’ Spirit, poured out into the world by his redemptive act. In Christ, there is no obstacle to living the fruits of the Spirit. Participating in his Paschal Mystery, the disciples “have crucified their flesh with its passions and desires” for a following of the Spirit.
With this, as with every celebration of the Eucharist, Christ lifts his finger again. The community’s commemoration of his death and resurrection empowers it anew for living in the Spirit.