As Christians, we believe that anything good in us is really a reflection of God’s infinite goodness. The good that we do is not really just our own, but a manifestation of our openness to His grace and love. This essence of goodness shines in the person of Jesus, and the gospel tells us how the apostles immediately recognized this after spending just a very short time with Him.
Our readings today challenge us to recognize both the evil and goodness in our day-to-day actions. One way of doing this is simply to see God in ourselves and in the myriad of good that we do. This naturally brings us to seeing the same good in others, and in their actions. We can then recognize our openness, albeit somewhat limited, to God’s presence in each one.
As we delve into the good, we might also want to explore the evil in our ways, no matter how subtle these might be. There are many ways that we try to cover up this side of us, and it may not be easily noticed. And yet, if we are honest with ourselves and go to the darker regions of our consciousness, we might just find our tendency for self-indulgence, our inordinate self-absorption or the occasional ill-will we might bear towards others. Only when we recognize these imperfections in us can we lift them up to the Lord, so that He can shine on it the light of his grace that will enable us to overcome our sinfulness.
Let us always remember our reliance on God’s boundless love and grace for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves and accepts us for who we are. With this gift, we can also accept ourselves, warts and all. It is not always easy, and that’s why we need to rely on both Jesus’ example and His grace to bring us there.