Scripture: Romans 4:20-25. Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-7. Luke 12:13-21
Paul always leads us to his faith in the Paschal Mysteries of Jesus that bring about for us redemption and the promise of eternal life. These mysteries are always in the background of his pastoral concerns for the communities (churches) he is addressing. Romans has already been heard by us these past days and we have become aware of how Christ centered Paul is as well as soteriological, that is, instructing us in the saving and redemptive actions of Jesus, especially through his death on the Cross.
He is relying on Genesis for what he tells us in these early chapters and is now focusing on Abraham as our model for faith and trust in God’s promises. Our faith is to be like that of Abraham. “If we believe in him (God)who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, the Jesus who was handed over to death for our sins and raised up for our justification” (our becoming saints) then we are followers of both Abraham and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The selection we have in our first reading (Romans 4:20-25) is the teaching or doctrinal theme that demonstrates God’s justice (and holiness) through our receiving the gift of faith in the Gospel that Paul hands on to us.
Fr. Fitzmyer, one of the best commentators on Romans tells us, “Abraham’s faith is the pattern for the Christian faith, because its object is the same; belief in God who makes the dead alive.” We experience this becoming and being alive because Jesus has been raised from the dead by the Father. Thus, in our belief in Jesus and his promises we hope beyond hoping while deepening and strengthening our faith.
I realize that as I am now older that these early chapters of the Epistle to the Romans make more sense. This goes beyond what I learn from commentators and my own study of the texts to realizing and experiencing these as living words inspired by God in the apostle Paul. They help me to continue the path of believing and hoping beyond all hope because God is ever faithful to the promises made to Abraham and to those enacted by God’s son, Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.