31st Tuesday in Ordinary Time
Romans 12: 5 – 16ab; Ps 131; Luke 14: 15 – 24
In the beginning of his Letter to the Romans St. Paul states that through the Lord Jesus he has been favored with apostleship, “that we may spread His name and bring to obedient faith all the Gentiles.” (Rom 1: 5) In today’s reading St. Paul spells out what obedient faith looks like.
In his teaching there is a certain completeness, insofar as it affects both the interior and exterior of our lives. There is the interior – the substance of the heart – “Let love be sincere, hold onto to what is good, love one another with mutual affection, do not grow slack, serve the Lord.” Then there is the exterior – the substance of our actions – “Contribute to the needs of the holy ones, exercise hospitality, bless and do not curse, do not be haughty but associate with the lowly.”
Clearly, this is the way of obedient faith – faith in the heart that expresses conviction, belief in one’s actions showing that faith is not some abstract theory but the very matter of life – real signs that we are rejoicing in hope, enduring in affliction, persevering in prayer. Clear, unmistakable signs that Jesus Christ is the Lord of my, your life.
Of course, we are invited to this way just as the people in Jesus’ parable were invited to the great dinner. Each was faced with a decision – to accept or reject the gracious invitation – they chose to reject it because of what seemed to them more important matters.
What does this story say to our own lives – to our response to God’s word that we heard in Romans today? Perhaps, the excuse is not so much about having to do this or settle that as to a certain spiritual deafness to God’s call to obedient faith. Perhaps, it just might be our fear that the Lord is asking too much of us and our excuse takes the form of “let’s not take the Word of God too seriously, too radically!”
God forbid that you/I hold such an excuse because when we stand before God, how can we ever rationalize that excuse – what could we say to justify our deafness, our fear that waters down God’s holy Word?