Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday word

28th Tuesday B (17 Oct 2006) Gal 5. 1-6; Ps 119; Lk 11. 37-41
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Freedom To Give

Do we not say that the Trinity by their Holy Spirit dwells in us? Indeed we do! In fact, to the Galatians Paul wrote the words, God sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” The Trinity of Divine Persons is free. We’re created in the divine image, which means we are free: free to accept or to reject any gift, including God’s gift of Holy Spirit.

I reflected on my patron, the author of Galatians, St. Paul who brought the gospel to the nations. He had been an enemy-to-the-death of Jesus’ gospel. Recall how his conversion happened. When he was on the way to imprison the church in Damascus, who met him on his way and stopped him in his tracks? Recall the scene. “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” When Saul asked, “Who are you, sir?” The reply was, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.” Not a court or magistrate; not a champion of the downtrodden, but the persecuted one himself!

This was yet another way the risen Lord gave himself, and its reward is the faith of each of us
and all those who have preceded us and all who will come after us. Jesus is the alms of all alms.

His self-gift freed Paul so that whatever turned him against Christ in his church, Paul freely embraced Christ embodied in his church and in the poor. Pride keeps us from embracing Christ; it deludes us to place ourselves first and at the center. The New Testament writings narrate and comment that “the humble are always the first to accept [Christ].”1

Alms school us in charity, helping us grow more adept in giving, and they sensitize us to doing justice, which seeks that the love of Jesus permeates families, societies, church and business.

We become free by practicing freedom. We become Christian by living Christ’s way. The more we exercise our christian freedom the more we grow as generous Christians. As it is written, for all who practice it charity is an excellent offering in the presence of the Most High.2 Like Christ we become excellent offerings and messengers of the reign of God.

1. Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 725.
2. Tobit.4.7-11.

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