Bible, Romans #16

Chapter eleven challenges both Jews and Gentiles. God will graft into His fold whomever He chooses, according to the faith they live. Neither should be “haughty” (v20) over the other because they have been chosen by God. They can lose it on account of losing their faith. We too should be careful about being prideful of our faith. Sometimes we can think ourselves better than the other and assume our salvation.
It is times like that when we can find ourselves cast out and the “enemy” in “the bosom of Abraham” (Lk 16:22). Judging salvation on anyone, including ourselves, can be a slippery slope to condemnation. There is only one judge; His name is Jesus. That very fact is a good thing. “Let us rejoice and be glad of it” (Ps 118:24). We were sinners, but God has found mercy for us. What would we ever do without Him?
Verse twenty-six states that God’s plan is to save Israel. The Jewish people are still a holy people, set aside by God in His own mysterious design. God’s ancient promise still stands, for God never goes back on His word. There is to be no anti-Semitism among Christians. In fact, all Christians should consider themselves Judeo-Christians.
Paul ends up pointing out the logic of God. Jews and Gentiles were both disobedient. The disobedience of each won the mercy of God for each other. The mercy shown to each inspired the other to come back to God. If one son sees that his father has been shown mercy, then he too can trust in that same father’s mercy. This contemplation makes Paul exclaim the praises of God, “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgements and how unsearchable His ways!” (v33). Paul has found God’s judgement to be mercy. He sees in it wisdom, knowledge, and brings riches to all who seek justice and love (Mt 5:3-12).
With the warning of Chapter 11, Paul encourages all to practice goodness. We all must conform our lives according to the goodness of God, and not to the emptiness of entertainment, technology, or whatever worldly allure may entice us. We must set our mind on “what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (v2). Paul is not talking about what is pleasing to ourselves; he is talking about what pleases God. So when we do things, our primary question should not be, “if I think this is fun, can I do it?” The primary question should be, “is this pleasing to God?” The first question is primarily focused on what is pleasing to ourselves, whereas the second question is focused on pleasing God. Pleasing God is what gets us to heaven.
Focusing on our own will trains us to do acts of selfishness. It starts with the thought. In this example, it starts with the question about our own will. Then what follows is the self-willed act. This is where we need to train our minds to start thinking about God’s will. To start training the mind to think of God’s will, just simply make a willed effort to ask yourself what God thinks of the act you would like to do. This can help us get out of ourselves and can guide us to the virtue God wants for us. It may help us overcome bad feelings about ourselves, make us more generous, less judgmental, and make us whole, among many other things. It sets us up for becoming a community of love for each other. What would St Mary and St Joseph Churches look like if we all did that?