So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Second Sunday of Lent. God reassures His chosen ones.

Second Sunday of Lent
Second Reading: Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans 8:31b-35, 37.

Canada (NRSVCE)

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

USA (NABRE)

Brothers and sisters: If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but handed him over for us all, how will he not also give us everything else along with him? Who will bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who acquits us, who will condemn? Christ Jesus it is who died—or, rather, was raised—who also is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. What will separate us from the love of Christ? Will anguish, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword? No, in all these things we conquer overwhelmingly through him who loved us.

God is good. God protects His own. Turn to God. Trust in God.
Diligam te Domine fortitudo mea.

Let's look again at the language of the Letter of Saint Paul to the Romans. Is it not the language of law and justice, of struggle and victory? Romans, being a pragmatic people, would have readily appreciated the language of the letter.
What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for usWho will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
Defende nos in proelio.

In the Gospel according to Saint John, the Lord promises to send help in defence of those who belong to Him (St. John: 14:16; 14:26; 15:26). That help is with us now (Acts 2:2-4). Who is our "defence attorney"? The Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. The Holy Spirit is sent to defend God's elect.
mid-15c., Paraclit, a title of the Holy Spirit, from Old French paraclet (13c.), from Medieval Latin paracletus, from Greek parakletos "advocate, intercessor, legal assistant," noun use of adjective meaning "called to one's aid," from parakalein "to call to one's aid," in later use "to comfort, to console," from para (see para- "alongside") + kalein "to call").—Online Etymology Dictionary.
The Roman Christians who lived at the heart of the empire would have known frequent persecution: ridicule; calumny; loss of livelihood; physical assault; martyrdom. Saint Paul makes a case for the defence against the accuser (Satan), the accuser who condemns the innocent. It is the accuser who stands condemned. In Christ, God's elect are set free. In the words of Diane Korzeniewski: "The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!"
Dominus firmamentum meum et refugium meum et liberator meus Deus meus adiutor meus et sperabo in eum protector meus et cornu salutis meae et susceptor meus.
What are the spiritual "weapons" the saints employ? Love and forgiveness, mercy and joy. We entrust those who persecute the beloved of God to the mercy of God. God is the just judge of souls. He knows the motives of all men. The Lord knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men, and he recognizes the innocent as His own.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.—Holy Gospel according to St. Matthew 5:43-48.
Ask Our Lady to place you under the mantle of her maternal protection. Ask, too, that Saint Michael, the archangel and the captain of the heavenly host, defend the Catholic Church, the Holy Father Pope Francis, bishops and all clergy, religious and the laity who form the vanguard of the Church Militant, the earthly regiment of the Communion of Saints.

2 comments:

  1. Warren are you indirectly applying he readings of this week's Novus Ordo scripture to the infamous Rosica lawsuit affair?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julian. No, it's not my intent to apply the reading to the Vox/Rosica issue. I was moved by a reader who read the excerpt of the Letter during the Mass (anticipated Sunday) yesterday evening. Her remarkably clear, genuine proclamation of the reading drew out the thoughts I've tried to articulate. After writing and reflecting on this post, my thoughts did turn to David and Fr. Thomas and situations around the world where people face daily persecution of one kind or another. If my imperfect reminder points others to God's holy word, then thanks be to God. AMDG

      Let's hope, too, and pray that the Vox/Rosica issue is resolved soon in charity.

      Delete

"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.