Grace to you!
We continue our reflection drawn from Saint Paul's letter to the Romans. Last Friday, we dwelled on how Saint Paul shed light on the interior struggles each person faces between choosing the life of virtue and the temptation to vices. We also hinted on how the grace of God helps us to practice virtue. Romans 8:12-17 is a continuation of the same teaching.
Saint Paul writes, “Brothers and sisters, we are not debtors to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die, but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:12-13).
Here, Saint Paul uses an imagery very familiar to the people of his time to teach the revealed truth. It was the imagery of slavery—that horrific social evil.
Perhaps, in our time, we could use the imagery of addiction to relate to this message. Addicts share the terrible pain of not being sober. Substance abuse or alcohol addiction literally controls the addict, making it difficult to overcome. Many addicts honestly hate what they do but they feel so helpless from stopping it. The pain is deep and torturous for them and for their loved ones.
Studies have shown two of the most important steps to being free from addiction are being honest with oneself (not being in denial) and seeking outside help.
This analogy could be applied to our spiritual reflection today. When we are entrapped in the desires of the flesh, we should not be in denial or explain it away. In addition, we need outside help. Good news is that we have the Perfect Helper in Christ. Remember the Holy Spirit is our Helper, sent to us from God the Father in the name of God the Son Jesus Christ (Jn 14:26).
Saint Paul encourages us we get the help we need in Christ. When we are born anew through baptism, we receive the necessary help to begin the journey of freedom. Being born anew, we become heirs, adopted sons and daughters of God, enabling us to relate with God in an intimate way. There is confidence too because we are free indeed. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!” (Rom 8:15). It is most inspiring and edifying to recognize you are God’s special child.
Literally, there is a rapture going on where the life of God draws us into His holy life or the home of divinity. Imagine being on the wings of your heavenly Lord and Father. Imagine what it means being God’s special child.
Let us pray that we remain in the Lord so we wouldn't be distracted from the vision of glory. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
F. Maurice Emelu
[Monday Week 30 A: Rom 8:12-17; Lk 13:10-17]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.