“Oh you Pharisees! Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.” (Lk 11,39)
This is the typical reaction of Christ toward the rigid rules of the Pharisees, who make a big issue out of little things while ignoring the bigger and more important things. Remember Christ accusing them with these words: “You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.” (Mt 23,24)
We need to be careful with our tendency to fall into this predicament that we call as hypocrisy, inconsistency, or not seeing the forest for the trees. This can only happen when we are not with Christ who as God knows everything, both the small and the big things, and as man shows us how to deal with that tendency so as not to get lost, confused, and more, how to maintain the proper unity of life despite the many and often conflicting things we have to consider.
We have to understand that only with Christ can we aspire to have unity and consistency in our life, one that is not rigid. Rather it is a consistency and unity that knows how to adapt itself properly given the different and changing conditions and circumstances of our life.
So, we really have to earnestly pursue the effort of living and defending our Christian identity all the time. We should not be afraid to show our Christian identity at all times and in all situations. We should not be Christian by name only, but also by our thoughts, desires and deeds, and in all aspects of our life. We should not be Christian in good times only, but also, and most especially, in bad times. We should not be Christian only in our sacred moments, but also in our mundane activities.
This does not mean that we have to flaunt our Christian identity or to exude some kind of a triumphalistic aura. In fact, we have to be most natural and discreet about it. But it should not be hidden because of fear or shame.
Remember Christ saying: “Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father in heaven.” (Mt 10,32-33)
That Christ is the Son of God who became man to redeem us means that God in Christ through the Holy Spirit identifies himself with each one of us at all times. This is the basis for keeping a consistency in our Christian identity.
This is what our Catechism teaches us clearly: “Christ enables us to live in him all that he himself lived, and he lives it in us. ‘By his Incarnation, he, the Son of God, has in a certain way united himself with each man.” (Catechism 521)
Let us remember what Christ said so clearly. He is the vine, we are the branches. We can only have life, let alone, consistency and fruitfulness in our life, if we are united to him. Outside of him, we can only expect death, inconsistency and sterility.
Yes, only in and with Christ can we have the real principle of unity and fruitfulness in our life. We would be fooling ourselves if we fail to recognize this basic truth about ourselves.*