WE BELIEVE IN JESUS CHRIST
Starting today and for the next four weeks, we shall listen to Paul’s letter to the Romans. Today he presents himself as the Lord’s apostle, especially for the gentiles, and then he goes straight to the heart of the message he has to proclaim: that Jesus Christ is the son of David and our risen Saviour.
Jesus reprimands the Jews for not believing unless they see spectacular signs. But Christ proclaims that faith consists in trust in the word and in the person of the one who is sent. The early Christian community specified further: faith rests in confidence in the risen Christ. The preeminent sign is Jesus Christ himself. We believe not because of this or that wonder or proof but because Jesus makes God visible to us.
Lord God, our Father,
we too wish at times we could see signs
that brace our hesitant faith.
Give us a faith that is strong enough
not to ask for wonders and proofs
but simply to trust in you
and in your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Deepen this faith and make it
the very foundation of the whole of our life.
We ask you this through Christ our risen Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: Romans 1:1-7
Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an Apostle and set apart for the Gospel of God, which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, the Gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh, but established as Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness through resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Through him we have received the grace of apostleship, to bring about the obedience of faith, for the sake of his name, among all the Gentiles, among whom are you also, who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; to all the beloved of God in Rome, called to be holy. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Responsorial Psalm 98:1bcde, 2-3ab, 3cd-4
R. (2a) The Lord has made known his salvation.
Sing to the LORD a new song,
for he has done wondrous deeds;
His right hand has won victory for him,
his holy arm. R.
The LORD has made his salvation known:
in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice.
He has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness
toward the house of Israel. R.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the salvation by our God.
Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
break into song; sing praise. R.
Alleluia: Psalm 95:8
If today you hear his voice,
harden not your hearts.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 11:29-32
While still more people gathered in the crowd, Jesus said to them, “This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign will be given it, except the sign of Jonah. Just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation. At the judgment the queen of the south will rise with the men of this generation and she will condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and there is something greater than Solomon here. At the judgment the men of Nineveh will arise with this generation and condemn it, because at the preaching of Jonah they repented, and there is something greater than Jonah here.”
Today we begin a series of readings from Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Paul identifies himself as both a slave to the interests of Christ Jesus as well as an apostle, one called and set aside for the spread of the gospel. He then presents the two features of the incarnation that are essential to the understanding of Christ. Jesus was Son of God in the flesh, a descendant of David. While always God’s Son, his became an effective Sonship only with his resurrection from the dead, when the power that was his through the Holy Spirit, conferred with the resurrection, led to the faith conviction that he is God’s Son and fully experienced as such. Christ is now recognised as Son and Lord. As Paul teaches elsewhere, no one can say Jesus is Lord except in the Holy Spirit. With this full recognition of Christ as Son and Lord, Paul is commissioned to bring this truth to the Gentile world, for the Gentiles too are called to this “obedience of faith.” The Romans are part of this company of belief, called to belong to Jesus Christ.
But as the gospel points out, the message of Christ himself did not fall on eager ears. In earlier times the queen of the South came a great distance to hear Solomon. She will arise at the time of judgment and condemn the hard-hearted people of Christ’s generation, for they were host to one greater than Solomon. The Ninevites converted at the preaching of Jonah; they too will condemn the present generation. There is no reason to ask for a sign, since the sign has already been given.
We who have been called to the obedience of faith want to accept in full the teaching of Jesus. It is not always easy to accept what Christ asks of us. But we have accepted the obedience of faith and, in view of all that God has done for us, we want to respond with the “gratitude of faith,” in the full realisation that here is One, who is not only greater than Solomon, but the author of Solomon’s wisdom.
– That we may have a deep faith in Jesus Christ and be close to him, for he is for us the human sign and shape of God, we pray:
– That we may be people deeply marked by the resurrection of Christ as people who keep rising with him to a deeper Christian life and who raise up one another from sin and misery, we pray:
– That many people may come to know Christ and grow in his life, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
we believe in your Son Jesus Christ
and in his continuous presence
in the Christian community.
Accept these gifts of bread and wine
by which we express our faith
and offer you our life with its struggles,
with its joys and hopes.
Through his Eucharistic body
make us more and more
the believing and serving body of the Church.
Grant this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
we were asking for wonders
and you have given us no other sign
than the presence in faith
of your Son here in our midst.
Let this be enough to sustain us
to go with one another the road
– at times smooth, at times rough –
of service, communion and friendship.
Help us to uplift and raise up one another
by the power of our risen Lord,
Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives with you and with us
now and for ever. Amen!
Greater than Solomon, greater than any prophet, is Jesus. In him we believe. Him we trust. Him we treasure as the meaning of our lives. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!