Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Tuesday word, 16 Oct 2007

Tuesday, 28th Week (16 Oct 2007) Rm 1.16-25; Ps 19; Lk 11. 37-41
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
We Are Saved Together

St. Paul desired to spread the word about Jesus everywhere Gentiles lived. Rome, even Spain, attracted him. His Letter to the Romans, addressed to the Christians there, sought to shape a communal way of being. His purpose was moral exhortation and encouragement.

Paul opened with his core conviction: God, the Creator, worked salvation for all in Jesus. His style of writing the Romans worked through this conviction by contrasts. We just heard Paul’s first contrast: if God works salvation--and he wanted to encourage believers to live by that--next he rehearsed sin’s power to enslave humans. Today’s selection announced that, the opposite of God’s saving power.

Salvation as Paul used it in his Letter to the Romans means becoming God’s people, and enjoying the life of risen Jesus in part now and fully when he returns in glory. Salvation is no private affair.

Paul recognized that humans can willfully reject God’s salvation: hence, his phrase about those who choose to live enslaved to sin, the opposite of faith: they have no excuse.

The related phrase, which puzzles most of us, the wrath of God, always stood as a symbol for the retribution, which results from rejecting God. As a sullen child angrily reacts to parental love, so for one, who rejects God, even divine mercy may register as “anger.”

Rejection of God, in all manners of ways, is idolatry. Idolatry rejects being a part of God’s people. As the Letter of the Romans unfolds during the daily masses into the first ten days of November, be alert to what St. Paul meant by salvation, becoming part of God’s people, and idolatry, rejecting God’s life as mediated by the church. The faith of Jesus is the pattern for how we welcome salvation and how we resist idolatry.
Wiki-image of salvation personified is in the public domain.

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