Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday word, 29 Oct 2007

30th Monday (29 Oct 2007) Rm 8. 12-17; Ps 68; Lk 13. 10-17
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Standing With Jesus

After he the noted human condition is enslaved to sin, from which humans are unable to free themselves, St. Paul proclaimed God graciously freed humans from sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Risen Jesus, God’s son, endows others with divine life. How? By giving his Spirit to all who accept it. Holy Spirit is the operating principle of God’s liberating life, what we shorthandedly call grace. In Chapter 8 of his Letter to the Romans St. Paul described how grace works.

We begin to understand and appreciate his description when we remember that for St. Paul flesh and spirit are religious terms; they are not equivalent with our body parts or psychology. As a religious term, flesh is the attitude, which rejects God’s creative claim on us and God's desire to restore our original dignity. Sin is the child of this attitude, compulsive and not liberated. As a religious term, spirit is God’s life, which risen Jesus lavishes on humans. Spirit is power freeing us from fleshly fear. God canceled our debt to fleshly fear--our human condition--by making us heirs with God’s son.

Heirs inherit. Heirs have the place of the true, recognized children. "Blood may be thicker," but non-blood heirs have equal status. Holy Spirit gives us equal standing with Jesus in God’s heart and power to live our new life. St. Paul, we recall, wrote to real people, who were a real faith-community, to encourage them to live more powerfully Holy Spirit already given to them. Holy Spirit is Jesus’ own faith.

Faith, the relationship with God Jesus enjoyed, made Jesus free: free to express God’s desire; free to work God’s saving power, first with the children of Abraham--of which our gospel gave an example; free to give his life so all humans might enjoy God’s life. The way Jesus conversed with God showed his freedom: Abba! That Aramaic word is the familiar, intimate term by which Jewish children addressed their fathers. Daddy conveys its intimacy well. Intimacy embraces suffering. Holy Spirit allows us to identify with our crucified Messiah in this deepest way. About this work of Holy Spirit St. Paul will address us tomorrow.
Davezelenka, the copyright holder of the Wiki-image of the Baptism of Christ, allows its use under the GNU Free Documentation license.

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