In verses 18 through 20, we see how God created everything to reveal who He is and reflect His ways. In the things He created, we can derive that God exists, and furthermore, what is good and what is evil. God created things with a purpose and an order according to that purpose. We can discover that the eye has the purpose to help us see and the stomach helps us digest food to stay alive. God even gave us taste buds so that we may have pleasure in eating to inspire us to stay alive. If anything comes along that prevents or hinders the eye from seeing or the stomach from digesting, then that would be ‘an evil’ and unhealthy. But if medicine or some sort of assistance were to come along to help the eye see or the stomach to digest, then that would be ‘a good’ and healthy. It is just as much true with our bodies as it is with our souls. God created our bodies and souls not in a general way, but with detail, reason and purpose. Continue reading
Paul is setting the context of this letter from the outset. Verse one states, “Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God.” Paul refers to himself as to be a slave. It is believed that he is in chains as one is bound as a slave. He is set to go to court in Rome while being accused of wrongdoing by the Jewish leaders of the time. It seems to be early in his bondage. Though human hands have bound him with the intent for death, Paul really does consider himself to be a slave to Christ Jesus. But this bondage is a path to freedom. He actually rejoices in this bondage. It is an opportunity to glorify God.
Verse two talks of how the Old Testament prophesied about the coming of Jesus. It states, “Which he promised previously through his prophets in the holy scriptures.” The Old Testament is considered to be the word of God known as Sacred Scripture. Paul is not referring to what he is writing is going to write. The New Testament has not yet been put together. In fact, it is still being written out, as is the case for the letter to the Romans. So the Old Testament is held very dear to the early Christians. Those Sacred Scriptures point to Jesus as the Messiah that is long waited for by the prophets.
Verse three continues to bring clarity that the gospel is about Jesus. Verse three states, “the gospel about his Son, descended from David according to the flesh” and verse four continues, “but established as Son of God in power according to the spirit of holiness through the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.” So Paul is establishing Jesus as a descendant of David in verse three as does the beginning of Matthew and Luke. It seems that Jesus has mere human origin, but in verse four, he states that there is more about this man Jesus than what appears to be. He is also a descendant of God. He comes to know this through the spirit of holiness and the fact that this Jesus rose from the dead.
Did you notice how it is worded about the Resurrection? Paul did not say “and about His resurrection from the dead.” No. It states, “through resurrection from the dead.” He does not limit the Resurrection to Jesus. Already, Paul is allowing for the reality of the promise that Jesus has made us of our resurrection. He is very aware of our eternal life, not just spiritually, but physically.
Verse 6, Paul recognizes that all the faithful are called to “belong to Jesus.” Paul realizes that the love of God is not his alone. He knows that it is for us too. In fact, he desires us to know of God’s love for us and really experience it in our lives. That is why he is writing this letter, so that others may know of the gospel message. The gospel message at this point in time is spoken. Some has been written, but not all of it as yet. So when Paul writes in the New Testament about the “gospel,” he is referring to the message of Jesus, His death and Resurrection, and His promise of Eternal Life.
The Romans by this time have already heard this message, but Paul wants to remind the people of this promise because it is the source of strength the Romans needed to persevere through all the hard times they had to endure. We need to hear this message too. That is why it is good to read the letter to the Romans. It can be an inspiration of faith and hope in the promise Jesus has given us. But do you understand what that promise is or even why it is so important? If we do not understand that, then the gospel message will mean nothing and we will remain in bondage and sin. Have you been freed from bondage and sin?
The letters of the New Testament are not put in chronological order. The Letter to the Romans was written by Paul much later in his life and ministries. It was one of the last letters he wrote. His teaching is much more developed than most of his writings. It is believed to have been written between the years 56 and 58. He was on his way to Rome as a prisoner. Reading up on Paul’s time coming to Rome and while he is in Rome, Paul seems to have plans to get out to Spain to evangelize there, though there is no evidence that he actually made it to Spain. Continue reading
As we get near the end of the Acts of the Apostles, we learn more about the shipwreck that Paul experiences (2 Cor 11:25; Acts 27). Even though Paul is held bound as a prisoner, it seems he feels like part of the team to make sure they have safe voyage. Paul does nothing to escape injustice. He has visitors who tell him that everyone will be safe on the ship. Continue reading
Within a week after Paul was in the hands of the governor, Ananias was there to make accusations against Paul. He was held in Herod’s praetorium near Caesarea where the governor was. Paul’s accusers gave an eloquent presentation, but nothing of substance. They butter up the governor; they want to cover up their accusation of Paul. The judge, Felix, heard Paul and seemed to favor Paul somewhat. It seems Felix may have been a wise man, but not all pure. He never prosecuted Paul, but was hoping to get a bribe from him. His wife was Jewish, but there is no mention of how she reacted to Paul. Like Herod, who heard John the Baptist, Felix likes to listen to Paul, until Paul talks about God’s judgment. Paul ends up in jail there for two years until Felix dies. Continue reading
The annual Women of Christ Conference, sponsored by the Council of Catholic Women, will be held in Cedarburg, Wisconsin on Saturday, November 3, 2018. This is a special day of reflection and spiritual growth for all Catholic women and features spiritually uplifting speakers, such as Dr. Scott Hahn. St Joseph Church in Freeport will sponsor a chartered bus for this important event with boarding available at TriState Travel facility in Galena, the Stockton Recreation Park and St Joseph in Freeport. The anticipated cost for the bus is $25.00. Conference reservations will be available online beginning in August. Please watch your bulletin for further information regarding the conference, how to register and how to reserve your bus seat. This is a wonderful opportunity to commune with other Catholic women on this faith journey – please mark your calendar now.
Chapter 23 continues the argument and Paul’s ability to preach the gospel. Paul argues that he has remained free from guilt. He is ordered to be struck. Paul brings out that it is unlawful to be ordered to be struck. Then Paul finds out it was the High Priest that orders him to be struck. Continue reading