Scripture: Lectionary 485: Romans 11: 29-36. Psalm 69:30-31.33-34.36-37.
Paul reasons and teaches under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit through
the gift of faith which he received in his conversion experience of the
Risen Christ. He has ceased kicking against the goad and now is a
prophetic apostle in what he writes to the Romans who are both Christian
and Jewish in their respective callings. As a pastor he is concerned for
all who listen to his preaching and read his writings whether they be
Christian Jews or Gentiles. Rome had both in abundance at the time of his
last and greatest epistle, that of Romans. All are to be under the plan of
God for their salvation which Paul now is convinced is through the
sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus. (See Galatians 4:4-5).
We learn of how Paul is overwhelmed by the mystery of God’s wisdom and
wonderful plan of salvation for all humankind. He again sums it up with
this statement that is also a prayer: “For from him and through him and in
him all things are: to him be the glory forever. Amen.” We are now aware
that Paul often prays within the epistles that he writes and thus they are
significant for all times since they enter the realm of God’s time called
Psalm 69 is harmonious with what Paul conveys to us in the short passage
for today. This psalm is frequently found in the New Testament and in early
Christian writers. It takes on a messianic perspective and thus enters
into the unfathomable mystery of God’s wisdom in creation and in our
redemption. The core of this psalm is God’s merciful and tender love
(hesed). The abundance of God’s compassion is felt (rehem) and the truth
(emet) of our salvation is experienced. This Psalm has the passionate
prayers of a Jeremiah and may have even been composed by him. We make it
our own prayer by reciting it with attention and devotion.
Jesus now speaks to the chief Pharisee who probably invited him to the
wedding feast or the banquet. Though the passage is very short for this
day, it reminds us of our responsibility for the poor and the
underprivileged. Our reward will be in the resurrection of our souls
because we have shared the food of life with the disadvantaged. (Father
Karris, O.F.M.). Amen.