Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Wednesday word, 07 Nov 2007

31st Wednesday of the Year (07 Nov 2007) Rm 13. 8-10; Ps 112; Lk 14. 25-33
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
For Others

St. Paul shared with other moral teachers and religious leaders of his day a need to reassure his hearers that he was no renegade--among Jews and the Jewish- Christian movement mavericks were not uncommon. His mastery of torah, that is, all God’s oracles in the scriptures about the Messiah, which he combed and presented in his Letter to the Romans, showed he took God’s way of working seriously. Moreover, St. Paul aligned himself with Jesus and his teachings. St. Paul reminded his hearers that Jesus was in line with the commandments, and that the commandments sought to help people live in love.

St. Paul cited what Jesus himself cited in scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself./1/ St. Paul repeated/2/ his shorthand of the power of Christian love: love is the fulfilling of the law/torah. Earlier St. Paul had said that Christ is the goal of the law/torah./3/ Because we are one with our Messiah/4/, the more we have his attitude the closer to our goal we will be.

Christian love is more spacious than emotional love. Christian love is “for others.” It leads us beyond ourselves and calls us to respond freely as a daughter or son of God. Christians testify to the future of the world when God in Christ by their Spirit will deliver them from slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God./5/.

The word corruption was opposed to genesis, origin or birth. God brought birth out of Jesus’ death, a birth to an absolutely new and imperishable life. Jesus freely gave his life. Christians seek to live his freedom, to replicate it in their lives. Love, which both enlarges our capacity for freedom and disposes us to live out of it, shapes our lives to be for others. “For others” is the superior norm by which Christians discern how to be in the world.

But I get ahead of St. Paul. Tomorrow we shall hear him say that and to accept others because God has accepted us together with God’s son.

/1/ Leviticus 19. 18, which Jesus cited (Matthew 22. 39 and parallels).
/2/ Galatians 5. 14 was the first place.
/3/ Chapter 10. 4.
/4/ Chapter 12. 5, in yesterday’s Lectionary selection.
/5/ Chapter 8. 21.

Wiki-image of torah scroll is in the public domain.

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