Friday, October 26, 2007

Saturday word, 27 Oct 2007

29th Saturday (27 Oct 2007) Rm 8. 1-11; Ps 24; Lk 13. 1-9
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Power Who Gives Presence

When he spoke of the human condition, St. Paul noted we have no power to stand in right relationship with God--his word was peace, that is, shalom; St. Paul did not mean by peace the absence of war. God’s graciousness empowers us: by the grace of God and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ does life overflow for the many./1/ How does grace work? Here in Chapter 8 of his Letter to the Romans St. Paul sang flowingly and compellingly that its operative principle is Holy Spirit. "Principle" is the way St. Paul used the word law in Chapter 8: the principle of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus.

Better than “principle” is energy or power, lest we think that Holy Spirit is an idea or other part of our mind. This working is intimate: you are in the spirit, if only the Spirit of God dwells in you; and, If the Spirit of the one who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, the one who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also, through his Spirit that dwells in you./2/

This life is God’s living presence! Shalom, the covenant word, evoked in people being in right relationship with the living God present to them. The commandments prescribed what to do and not to do in order to stand/3/ in this relationship with God and with others. However, the commandments, indeed the whole of torah, God’s law, did not have the power to put us in right relationship with God. This God has done: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for the sake of sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous decree of the law might be fulfilled in us, who live not ac-cording to the flesh but according to the spirit.

Flesh and spirit (like peace) are religious terms not body parts or our minds. As religious terms: flesh is opposed to being in relationship with God and allowing the Creator to lay claim to us; spirit is God’s gracious gift empowering us to be the individuals God created and grow more free to stand in relationship with God and others.

/1/ Chapter 5. 15. Chapter 8 elaborates on his more tersely expressed convictions in Chapter 5.
/2/ Chapter 8. 9 & 11.
/3/ Chapter 5.1-2.

Wiki-image of statue representing Holy Spirit is used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license. .

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