Thursday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Memorial Feast: Pope Saint Callistus I—(c. +222 AD) Patron Saint of Cemetery Workers
Romans 3:21-30, Psalm 130:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, & Luke 11:47-54
Grace! What an impressive concept. How wonderful that God gives far beyond what we could ever deserve. Today is a good day to reflect on the beautiful gifts of grace that Jesus so freely grants to us. Today's passage in Romans includes many familiar verses that discuss the love of God and the depths of His mercy. For many, the lines provide familiar and meaningful images of the mystery of atonement that deserve a deliberate and reflective examination. For others, the reading may become more significant if representations of redemption that resonate with our culture are substituted for the images of blood sacrifice and atonement that seem much more remote to us. What are modern images of redemption that can help us reflect on the grace of God?
Our Lord offers us redemption and grace, and He clarifies that we are to do likewise. The Gospel narrative of Saint Luke offers one of His many warnings of failing to do so. We are to give reconciliation or redemption to others. We are to extend grace by giving of ourselves beyond that which is deserved by others. When we fail to do so, we become judgmental, self-righteous, and harsh. We set up unreasonable standards and withhold reconciliation, love, knowledge, and hope from others who fail to meet those standards.
We forget the many ways we have received grace and opportunities for redemption and come to believe that we have every reason to boast and remain firm in keeping out all who cannot meet these standards. The assurance of grace and redemption in Paul's letter to the Romans, as well as in Psalm 130, can give us the courage to consider how we may be withholding grace and reconciliation from others. Gratitude for the grace and redemption of Jesus can renew our commitment to discovering ways to offer grace and redemption to others in the busyness of our daily lives.
Question of the Day: Grace and redemption are asked for and given when we pray for our Father. Are you prepared to practice what you pray?
Prayer: "I am the way, the truth, and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father except through me. Amen."