Wednesday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time at Mississippi Abbey

In the light of yesterday’s gospel, we see a new dimension of Jesus’ integrity. He continues to behave the way He believes because He so much cares about what He believes. He is consumed by the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand for the children of the Father. He will go to any lengths to open it to them. That new dimension is wholeheartedness.

When asked to stay, He declares, “I must proclaim the good news…” There is harmony between His insides and His outside. In His healings and His proclamation, He shows constancy in His practice of goodness nourished by an undivided heart. The kingdom of God and its accessibility to the people is the commitment of His heart that controls His behavior and that determines His character. 

As followers of Jesus Christ, as imitators of Christ, we wonder, “What is it to be a person of integrity?” Well, to be a person in American culture is to be daily exposed to a lot of desires. We are constantly confronted by the media with incitements to desire. The desires are often in conflict. One feels fragmented.         

A person of integrity has a Master Desire, one aim in life that is noble, transcendent, and that she most cares about. All other desires must be harmonized with the Master Desire. When they are, she becomes a person of integrity.         

When she is a follower of Christ, the Master Desire is to do God’s will. Reason and the senses will propose other items for desire. The Master Desire can only be effective if it is what she cares about most. To effectively care about it most she must organize her life around it. She submits lesser desires to the Master Desire on a daily basis. She can best do this in a community with whom she shares that desire. She puts their principles before her own personality. That constitutes her. Then she is wholehearted…and she becomes a person of integrity, a follower of Jesus Christ.