October 15, 2012
(St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), Virgin and Doctor of the Church)
David declares the blessedness of the person to whom God credits righteousness apart from works: “Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not record.” Rom_4:1-8
Jesus said, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one.” Lk_12:1-7
In our First Reading today, St. Paul is in the middle of a heated discourse given to the Jewish converts to Christianity in Rome. They are told that they hold no greater esteem in God’s eyes because of their Heritage, their Law, or their Religious works of Circumcision, than anyone else, because everyone, Jew or Gentile are all sinners.
And he tells them that mankind is ONLY Justified with God through their Faith in Jesus. Paul goes on to give the examples of Abraham and David’s Faith in God. David was an interesting character in light of this, because, as we see in his story, David was constantly on the run from King Saul who wanted to kill him. And yet, in his righteous respect for God, even when given the chance to retaliate, David refused to do the slightest bit of harm against Saul, because Saul was God’s chosen and anointed king. As the story continues, we see this merciful attitude in David because of his intense love for God, and his belief that even his enemies, could one day find God’s love within themselves, as well.
Well, all of this talk about Justification and Faith and Righteousness, prompted me to go back to one of our best sources of information on these topics, the Catechism of the Catholic Church. And in re-reading those definitions, which are really quite eloquent, the Holy Spirit inspired me to share that Wisdom with you, even though, I’m sure, you are all well familiar with it. But it would be a good review anyway, and who am I to refuse a request of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, today, tells His disciples, as they were being persecuted by the Law-fanatic Pharisees, and us, that, like David, we are not to fear Physical Death from them. But we ARE to fear Spiritual Death from the evil temptations of Satan. Temptations and actions that have the power to keep us from our eternal destination with God – BASED on our own Free-will Choice.
You see, we are all precious in God’s eyes,
when by our Faith,
we trust in Jesus and
accept God’s grace
to justify and save us forever!
As a postscript, St. Paul sums this all up beautifully in the first part of Chapter 5 in his Letter to the Romans. The NAB entitles the Chapter:
Faith, Hope, and Love.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, 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, and we boast in hope of the glory of God.
Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
For Christ, while we were still helpless, yet died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person one might even find courage to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.
How much more then, since we are now justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by his life. Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Rom_5:1-11
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