A Homily for Wednesday in the Twenty Nineth Week in Ordinary Time
Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Holy Ghost Church – 8:00 Communion Service
Romans 6:12-18; Psalm 124:1b-3, 4-6, 7-8; Luke 12:39-48
Let’s take a look at today’s first reading. Paul is painting a black-or-white picture of the human situation: either one lives in service to sin and remains in spiritual bondage, or one lives in obedience to God and enjoys liberation from sin’s captivity.
Paul says sin must not reign over our mortal bodies. As Christians, we have undergone a death to sin in baptism, and so our former life of sin must remain permanently deceased.
Nevertheless, while baptism delivers us from enslavement to sin, it does not place us beyond the reach of its influence. While we have been freed from sin, free will remains in the Christian. We can still choose to obey sin’s unruly desires and allow them to control our actions. When we do, and we all do, we must not despair. We must acknowledge and confess our sins and ask our merciful God to help us not to fall into them again.
Paul’s main point is that sin is not to have any power over the baptized—LITERALLY, that sin “shall not exercise lordship over” our lives. Believers have been freed from an old master, sin, and placed under the authority of a new Lord, Jesus Christ. Christians are not under the law but under grace.
This means that we have been given the grace to continually turn from our sins and not allow them to have a hold over us. It means that sin no longer reigns over us. It doesn’t mean that we will never sin as Christians, but that we have been given the grace to see them for what they are, express our sorrow for them, pick ourselves up and thank God for his love and mercy.
In the second part of today’s first reading, Paul anticipates another error we may be tempted to believe. He asks, “Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?” Paul flat-out answers that question with a resounding “Of course not!”
Living in God’s grace is possible only within God’s boundaries. It requires us to renounce dishonorable ways and adopt new ways that bring honor to him. Simply put, freedom from sin is not a freedom to sin. We can’t fall into the trap of thinking that God’s mercy is an excuse for us to sin, knowing we will be forgiven.
Finally, Paul speaks of our lives as lives of slaves. We are either slaves to sin or slaves to obedience. Either one does the bidding of sin, or one renders obedience to God. It’s that simple. And these two different masters lead to opposite destinies, one to death, the other to righteousness.
Today let us all reflect on the encouragement Paul gives us when he reminds us that we have been freed from sin, that we have become slaves of righteousness.”
Let us examine our consciences, confess our sins, and resolve to live each day as slaves of righteousness as we serve the Master of love and mercy, Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer.