St Joseph and St Mary Parishes in Freeport, IL

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Bible: Romans #18

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In the Last article dealing with the book of Romans, we see how patriotism is important and even virtuous. The law of the land is to be upheld by all Christians for the good of society. St John Bosco once said, “Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and would even like to destroy us, but we must be patient. As long as their commands are not against our conscience, let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise, let us uphold the rights of the Church, for those are superior to all earthly authority”. This is pretty sound advice and is steeped in catholic tradition. It is what the first Christians did up through the conversion of Rome.
Verse seven talks about giving what is due to others, be it government or individuals. But verse eight recognizes something greater and even more “primary” as the theologians may put it. Love demands that we ourselves fulfill the law of God, which is superior than man’s law. If we love a person, we would never think of offending that person. When I was a child, I was so afraid to sin against my mom. I knew my mom loved me and I would have been crushed if I had done something that offended her. Love does not demand it from others, it demands it from ourselves. It is the purest form of strength.
I have heard many people say that if you want to work for peace, work for justice. There is wisdom in this saying, but it will always come short of any lasting peace. If everybody demanded and got justice, strictly speaking, it might be a brutal world and a lot more people may be in jail. But Jesus has found a way where justice and mercy have met. Combined, justice and mercy, and only understood being together do they produce virtue. This is because love is the motivation of mercy and therefore fulfills the law. That is why forgiveness is not letting somebody get by with something (complacency) and justice is not revenge.
Verse eleven recognizes the motivation of love to do God’s holy will. It also recognizes that our faith also demands that we do God’s holy will. We have faith in those we love, or at least that is what normally should happen in God’s design. This is particularly true with our love for God. If we trust God, It is much easier to do His will. But to shed off the old self, it takes more than faith, it takes love. It is our love for Him that would make us give up coffee, alcohol, chocolate, sugar or any other comforts we like. In a husband, it is love for his wife that makes him go to the opera, not faith in her. It takes love for her husband that makes her go to the game with him, not faith in him. It is love that makes grandma go to the school activities, not faith in the grandchildren.
Paul’s challenge is what are we willing to do for Jesus? It was His love for us that motivated Him to die on the cross for us. Are you motivated by love to do something for Jesus? Is it something that reflects the way you live? Has your love for Jesus changed your life? How?

Author: stjosephstmary

We are two Catholic Churches close to downtown Freeport, IL. Our communities are over 150 years old and have been dedicated to our lord Jesus Christ since our inception. We believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of ythe Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilot, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

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