Reflections on the Scripture Readings for this Weekend — 20170618

On this second weekend after Pentecost, our readings are taken from Paul’s Letter to the Romans and Matthew’s Gospel. With Pentecost the Church ends taking our readings from the Acts of the Apostles and John’s Gospel.

Christians in Rome were predominantly Gentile, with a Judaeo-Christian minority, which the majority of scholars see reflected in the letter. The principal theme of the letter is the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.

The passage that we hear from Romans sets forth the Christian idea that humans have an “interior law” written in their hearts which supersedes any written law. That law, of course, is God’s own Spirit and which we now think of as our “conscience.” Most humans realize when they act in a way which is not loving or noble. It is God’s Spirit attempting to help us live as God’s children.

The passage we hear from Matthew’s Gospel relates the call of the first disciples – the call of Simon, Andrew, James and John. In the three synoptic Gospels the calling of the first disciples is very similar. These accounts differ from that found in John’s Gospel (John 1:35-51). In John’s Gospel, it is the revelation made by John the Baptizer about Jesus that encourages Andrew to follow Jesus. In the synoptic, Jesus directly “calls” Peter, Andrew, James and John.

Regardless of how the disciples were called, in all of the accounts it was Jesus’ charisma That seems to have attracted His followers who, once they heard what He taught, gave themselves completely and totally to following Him. They sensed the true difference in His message from that of their original faith. They sensed that His message was filled with hope and, importantly, a very reasonable approach to life. I believe this is the underlying basis for calling the teaching of Jesus the GOOD NEWS.

God calls us through the Church, the assembly of those who believe in Jesus Christ as God incarnate, to embrace a way of living that is not regulated by rules and laws but is driven by a belief that how Jesus lived is the right way of living – driven by God’s Spirit.

How did Jesus live? His entire life was dedicated to worshiping God by being kind and loving to His fellowmen. He made love of neighbor and forgiveness of those who hated Him, the sole criteria by which He lived. He believed that it is necessary for spiritual growth to treat others as you want to be treated, regardless of how they respond to you. The Jesus way “transforms” you and makes you a child of God.

Comments are closed.