June 30 finds us at the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time and Galatians reads,
I say, then: live by the Spirit and you will certainly not gratify the desire of the flesh. For the flesh has desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you may not do what you want. But if you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
St. Paul in Galatians raises living by he Spirit or by the flesh.
The fruits of the flesh or the Spirit are set up in a larger context in which Paul is dealing with the influence of Judaizers in Galatia who insist on adding law to grace. Reminding the Galatians of their freedom from the law, he asks them to use the holiness encouraged by the law for each other. In living by the Spirit, they are to be slaves to one another, embodying the grand intent of the law, which is neighbor-loving.
The “fruit” or the result of living in the spirit is well known. They are called the fruits of the spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness and so on, and these latter qualities are the very things that mirror the light of God into the lives of others.
We could rename these qualities the flames of the Spirit. Not the fruit of the Spirit, but the flames of the Spirit.
We can’t be the candle.
Christ is the candle.
We can be — we must be — mirrors.
Christ has set us free, and ultimately he is the light of the world that we all reflect. But when God changes us — when we are led by the Spirit and produce fruit demonstrating that — then we reflect that light in the same way that a mirror does candlelight.
That means the response of the Christian is to polish up the mirror. Clean up the smudges and the water spots. Make it a bright reflector of God.