Monday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
October 11, 2021
Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray with Psalm 98
God has made salvation known:Psalm 98: 2-3
in the sight of the nations revealing justice.
God has remembered mercy and faithfulness
toward God’s People.
Indeed God has made salvation known through the gift of Sacred Scripture. And I feel so enthused about the next month’s prayer because, also today, we begin about a month of readings from Paul’s letter to the Romans. (We will also continue with Luke’s Gospel all the way up to Advent.)
Like the rest of Sacred Scripture, which has God for its transcendent author, Paul’s Letter to the Romans has a spiritual and theological depth that is literally inexhaustible.Scott W. Hahn: Romans
In praying with Romans, I am using a book by Scott W. Hahn, Father Michael Scanlan Chair of Biblical Theology at Steubenville University. In his introduction, Hahn says this:
Today’s reading offered me these elements to ponder and pray with:
- Paul calls himself a “slave” of Jesus Christ
- He invokes his call as an Apostle
- He sets himself in the company of the prophets
- He appeals to Jews who revere David
- but proclaims Christ, through his Resurrection, as Messiah beyond human lineage
- He proclaims his mission to the Gentiles
- to bring about “the obedience of faith”
I’ll be honest with you. I’ve read or heard this passage maybe a hundred times in my lifetime, and it has meant little or nothing to me. At best, it has sounded like a formal introduction such as those we hear from government “whereas” type decrees.
But I took Dr. Hahn’s advice, studying the passage, and reading it slowly and prayerfully. Here’s what I received:
- Paul’s Apostolic call, to which he willingly enslaved his heart, was to preach the Good News of our redemption in Jesus Christ – to preach it to Jews, Romans, Gentiles, and all people.
- It is an awesomely incredible message that can be received only through the gift of faith.
- It is a message rooted in the scripture stories we love, and where we look to find a reflection of our own life stories.
- Learning from these realities will help us come to a faith which expresses itself in action and gives glory to God in our own time.
Luke gives us one such story today. Jesus reminds the crowd of two familiar passages – that of Jonah and the “Queen of the South” (the Queen of Sheba, 1 Kings 10).
Jesus indicates that the people in these stories
believed without a sign.
Jesus tells the people gathered around him to learn from this. The crowd demands a sign, but Jesus says the sign is right in front of you – it is only your open heart that is lacking.
In his introduction, Paul prays for such open hearts in the Romans:
By that same grace, may we receive faith’s blessing as well.
Poetry: The Avowal – Denise Levertov
As swimmers dare to lie face to the sky and water bears them, as hawks rest upon air and air sustains them, so would I learn to attain freefall, and float into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace, knowing no effort earns that all-surrounding GRACE.
Music: Grace and Peace – Fernando Ortega