Thursday 14 October 2021
Today is Thursday the 14 October, in the 28th week of Ordinary time.
‘We should glory in nothing other than the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection; through him we are saved and set free. May God have mercy upon us and bless us, may he make his face shine upon us and be merciful to us.’
Today’s reading is from St Paul’s letter to the Romans.
Romans 3: 21-30
But now, irrespective of law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also, since God is one; and he will justify the circumcised on the ground of faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith.
The righteousness of God appears to be a completely topsy-turvy notion. Everyone equal, no-one paying for what they deserve, all of us on the receiving end of a gift. A gift of grace. What does God’s gift of grace actually mean to me? Can I accept it?
Perhaps I’m an old hand at all these terms: righteousness, grace, redemption. They trot off my tongue. They’re part of my culture. Perhaps I need to ask God for the gift to see them, to feel them, in a completely new way…
As I listen to the passage again, I might want to adopt a physical stance of acceptance, or at least of openness - open hands, open arms - to what is being put before me and allow these “topsy turvy” words wash over me.
As this reflection comes to an end, I ask God to help me discover more about who God really is.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.