Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tuesday word, 23 Oct 2007

29th Tuesday (23 Oct 2007) Rm 5. 12,15b,17-19,20b-21; Ps 40; Lk 12. 8-12
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
In a Different Key

The lectionary rushes us at the heart of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, about in whom and how God worked God’s righteousness by faith: in Jesus by his resurrection from the dead. The lectionary didn’t allow us to hear St. Paul emphasize how real is God’s graciousness in Jesus. It skipped to his description of the grand character of God’s gift: we stand in God’s life.

We do well to recall God’s gift in and through Jesus is real; it’s on no wish list. Here and now we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access (by faith) to this grace in which we stand./1/ By peace St. Paul did not mean the absence of war. The word he used translated the Hebrew shalom. Shalom conjured the covenant; it is being in right relationship with God and others. We stand in right relationship with God because Jesus returned it to us. Access to God is not our doing; risen Jesus gives us access.

The grandness of God’s gift in Jesus we can begin to appreciate from experience. Not only are we unable to give this gift of life to our-selves, at times we don’t even want to! That’s the effect of sin. Magnify that by count-less people; yet God reached all in their disinterest! Death and life played key roles.

For St. Paul creation and resurrection are different keys of God’s song. That helps us make sense of that dense verse, through one man [Adam], sin entered the world, and through sin, death, and thus death came to all. God sang into existence the first and representative human, Adam. Recall what God told the first humans if they ate the fruit of the tree in the center of the garden? "On the day you eat of it you shall die."/2/ That is how St. Paul connected sin and death.

In a different key, God called out of death Jesus to absolutely new life. Jesus’ freely chosen death liberated us from Adam’s death-dealing transgression. We trust Jesus’ resurrection because it is our liberation, or put another way, because Jesus’ resurrection connects us with the divine song of life, which we now sing in a different key; one day we will sing in the same key as the Trinity sing it in their eternity.

/1/ Chapter 5. 1-2.
/2/ Genesis 2.17.
Wiki-image of the Triumph of the Cross is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

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