Grace to you!
Many of us are familiar with the heroic story of the Polish Franciscan friar, Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Accounts of how he gave his life in exchange for a fellow prisoner who was picked for death by starvation in Auschwitz during the horror of World War II, has remained one of the best examples of heroic sacrifice.
From time to time we hear of stories of this kind. You may have witnessed it yourself. They reinforce our belief that there are many people out there who make incredible sacrifices for others. Sometimes they may not be as heroic as Saint Kolbe was, but being led to sacrifice for another is a great virtue.
From the volunteers in communities who go extra mile to help those in need, to the men and women in uniform who daily lay their life on the line to keep us safe, to the teacher in the class who is primarily concerned with the education of the students, dedicated health practitioners doing all they can to save life, etc.; anywhere sacrifice is done for another, God is glorified.
Stories like Saint Maximilian Kolbe’s remind me of one of the fruits of justification in Christ. Life in Christ begets fruits of righteousness. Even in a dark world, divine grace abounds. “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20). The grace is available not just in the abstract, but in lives and persons to lead the life of the redeemed.
Writing to the Romans, chapter five from verses twelve to twenty one, Saint Paul shows the parallels between the sin of Adam that brought death to us and the righteousness of Christ that brings our justification, the victory of the reign of Grace.
The reign of Grace, which comes through Christ, is indeed the “wholeness” of the human person. Life to the fullest inspires that selfless attitude to make us live not simply for ourselves but for one another (Rom 14:7). Selfless sacrifice is an example of the reign of grace, a testimony of the life of righteousness in Christ.
We read where Paul writes of justification using an expression that indicates acquittal: “Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.” (Rom 5: 18). Acquittal, among other things, suggests someone who is set free to enjoy the freedom of free citizenry. This is by the grace of God making us justified, authentically restored and reconciled with God. When one is justified in Christ, it affects the entire person—body, soul and spirit.
Psychologically, little wonder studies in medical science have proven that those who have faith tend to respond more readily to healing. The grace of faith restores and keeps us at peace. The grace of faith restores the human brokenness. It brings much peace to the soul.
May divine assistance always abide with us. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 29A: Rom 5:12, 15b, 17-19, 20b-21; Lk 12:35-38]
Fr. Maurice Emelu
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible 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.