I sin. And as a result, I deserve nothing from God. Everything, everything I receive from God is because of his grace. His free gift to me, given only because God loves me. And this is true for you too.
How can you be generous? That is the message of hope we are called to have as people of faith. How can your generosity be increased? How can your example of sacrifice help others to see how the faith produces calm and peace? How is it we can increase our faith in God, who is far stronger than any other created thing, even a coronavirus. All the readings provide us examples of what hope in God brings. Pray for the virtue of hope, and ask God to give you and witness to that peace that comes from deep faith in him.
If we are not paying careful attention to what Saint Paul is saying in the second reading this Sunday, we could miss something quite dramatic. We are made in God’s image and likeness. And so we are temples of the Holy Spirit, because we are made that way. So we become, in a very real way, the vehicles for others to encounter the presence of God. If we live faithfully God’s commandments, then we show forth all that God can do for us in his goodness.
Going Behind the Word: In order to get a better sense of what Saint Paul is getting at in the second reading from this Sunday’s Mass, it is helpful to look at what he says before what we hear today. He goes to great lengths to contrast what it means to trust in human wisdom, the wisdom of this age, and the wisdom he preaches, which pierces God. Human wisdom causes us to love ourselves, but God’s wisdom invites us into the very depths of God’s being in love. Human wisdom may satisfy today, but God’s wisdom saves forever.
Today’s section of Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans is one of my favorites. I’ve often used today’s first reading at funerals. I find the words of Saint Paul to be a great comfort in a world where I could feel small and helpless. God can only be separated from us by our own choices, our sins, but even then is willing to do whatever it takes to bring us back into he care and grace.
We might not be used to reading the Bible in this way, but with careful notice one can see that often the events of the New Testament are foreshadowed in the Old. Today Saint Paul gives us one of the most common examples, the comparison of the First Adam, who by one act, sinned, causing us all to inherit sin, and the New Adam, Christ, who by one act, redeemed all opening the door to salvation. It serves as a reminder that we should do our best to hear the warning Jesus gives to us in the gospel. We should be awake, on guard, on the watch, so that we can clearly experience the presence of God wherever we find it.