Reflections

Thursday in the 28th Week of the Year, October 14, 2021

ALL ARE SAVED BY FAITH
Introduction
We cannot save ourselves by observing laws and relying on our religious practices. We are saved simply by the goodness of God who revealed himself to us in Christ. Even our faith is a gift from God and this faith will set us free from sin and make us share in God’s goodness and love. This is difficult to understand for the scribes, the legalists of Christ’s day, and also for the legalists of our time. They cannot understand that everything is grace…
 
Opening Prayer
Lord God of the covenant,
we thank you for the gift of faith
in your Son Jesus Christ,
in the forgiveness and love
which he brought us from you.
All you let us touch and feel
is pure grace and a free gift.
Give us grateful hearts, Lord,
that recognise your goodness
in nature, in people around us,
and above all in your Son Jesus Christ,
who lives with you and with us now and for ever. Amen!
 
1 Reading: Romans 3:21-30
Brothers and sisters: Now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, though testified to by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as an expiation, through faith, by his Blood, to prove his righteousness because of the forgiveness of sins previously committed, through the forbearance of God – to prove his righteousness in the present time, that he might be righteous and justify the one who has faith in Jesus. What occasion is there then for boasting? It is ruled out. On what principle, that of works? No, rather on the principle of faith. For we consider that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the law. Does God belong to Jews alone? Does he not belong to Gentiles, too? Yes, also to Gentiles, for God is one and will justify the circumcised on the basis of faith and the uncircumcised through faith.
 
Responsorial Psalm 130:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6ab
R. (7) With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.
 
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;
LORD, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to my voice in supplication. R.
 
If you, O LORD, mark iniquities,
Lord, who can stand?
But with you is forgiveness,
that you may be revered. R.
 
I trust in the LORD;
my soul trusts in his word.
My soul waits for the LORD
more than sentinels wait for the dawn. R.
 
Alleluia: John 14:6
Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the way and the truth and the life, says the Lord;
no one comes to the Father except through me.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
 
Gospel: Luke 11:47-54
The Lord said: “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed. Consequently, you bear witness and give consent to the deeds of your ancestors, for they killed them and you do the building. Therefore, the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles; some of them they will kill and persecute’ in order that this generation might be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who died between the altar and the temple building. Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood! Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.” When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees began to act with hostility toward him and to interrogate him about many things, for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.
 
Commentary
The law, good in itself, had proven ineffective in bringing about justification. Incapable of being observed in all its detail, it had led to nothing but frustration. But now God’s righteousness or fidelity to his promises has been realized in the justification that comes to Gentile and Jew alike through faith in the redemption in Jesus Christ. Sins of former days, committed with God’s patient forbearance, are now remitted through faith in Christ Jesus. All of this is accomplished apart from the law, since this is the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Both the circumcised and uncircumcised are justified because of his universal love. Since this is all gift, there is no room for boasting.
In continuing his reproach of the Jewish leaders, the Lucan Jesus accuses them of building memorials to the prophets whom their fathers had killed. These acts of violence continued to the present in the persecution of both prophets as well as apostles of the Christian era. The end result is the present culpability for the death of all the prophets from Abel, the first to die, to Zechariah, the last prophet to be mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.
And with the dawn of the era of Christ, the scholars of the law not only refused to enter but prevented others from doing so. Hostility toward Jesus arises after these accusations. In speaking of the ineffectiveness of the law, Paul has alienated his former coreligionists. In speaking out, Jesus points to the continued wrongdoing of the Jewish leadership. There are times when all of us are called to take a stand. It is not an easy thing to do. But if principles for which we stand suffer attack, we have no other choice.
 
Intentions
– For all who witness to the truth, that the Spirit may put the right words in their mouths, we pray:
– For all of us, that we may do our tasks in life honestly and with zeal, we pray:
– For all who celebrate the Eucharist, that the Lord Jesus may make us trustworthy and authentic persons, we pray:
 
Prayer over the Gifts
God, loving Father,
what is there that we can give to you
which you have not given us first?
Accept these gifts
which you let our hands transform
into tokens of our gratitude.
And let us join in the thanks and praise
of your greatest gift to us,
Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
 
Prayer after Communion
Thankful for all you have given us,
we ask of you today
God, our loving Father:
make us, in turn, generous and liberal
to all whom we encounter in life.
As we have received freely from you,
may we learn to give with open hands and hearts,
without asking or waiting for a word of thanks,
and giving ourselves with our gifts,
as Jesus did, your Son,
who is our Lord for ever and ever. Amen!
 
Blessing
Let us thank God for all the graces he has given us, especially our faith and our Lord Jesus Christ among us. Let us also be grace and blessing to one another, with the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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