Scripture: Lectionary 467. Mon. Oct.14. Romans 1:1-7. Psalm 98:1.2-3.3-4. Luke 11:29-32:
Romans is the greatest of Paul’s epistles, therefore, it is the first in a series of epistles and a letter (Philemon) that he wrote. It comes immediately after the Acts of the Apostles and leads us into the second half of the New Testament where we begin with Paul the first to write about Jesus in the New Testament. That would be in 50-51 A.D. within twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus.
He begins this letter to the Roman church which consisted of both Christian Jews and Gentiles. He identifies himself in his opening lines as an apostle. He then gives us a remarkable creedal statement about Jesus as Messiah and as Son of God through the Resurrection. Then we enter into the message he has for the community in Rome which is to bring honor to God the Creator and proclaim that Jesus is the Savior of the world through the mysteries of his suffering death and resurrection. Paul is preparing us for one of the greatest writings about God, Jesus, and the Spirit. What a powerful message we are already hearing in so few verses.
Psalm 98 and the response take up this message of God’s redeeming love: “The Lord has made known his salvation. In the sight of all the nations he has revealed his justice.”
Luke narrates the scene of Jesus confronting his opponents who ask for a sign to prove his authority to preach and teach. Only the sign of Jonah is given to them so that they might learn and repent as did the Ninevites after Jonah called them to this conversion. Like Jonah, Jesus will be in the belly of the earth for three days and then rise from the dead. But they will not believe in the Resurrection. They refuse to open their hearts to his message of truth, love, and justice. The sign showed that even Israel’s fiercest enemy was willing to convert and do penance in sackcloth and ashes. Jonah was successful; Jesus was not!
To believe in Jesus one must have the gift of faith and have a listening heart that trusts in him who is our way, our truth, and our life. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.