22 October, 2013. Tuesday of the Twenty Ninth Week
Rom 5:12ff. Through Adam, sin and death came to us all; through Jesus Christ, grace far surpasses all sin.
Luke 12:35ff. Good for those servants whom the master finds wide awake at his return.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. But law came in, with the result that the trespass multiplied; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, just as sin exercised dominion in death, so grace might also exercise dominion through justification leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.
“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.
Grace abounding in our lives
By the time Luke wrote his gospel, the early church was no longer obsessed with the proximate return of Jesus in glory. The idea of waiting for the Day of the Lord was no longer urgently directed to a once-for-all coming in glory to end the present world and usher in the everlasting kingdom. As with the Our Father, Luke thinks of a daily presence of the Lord Jesus in our neighbour and in contemporary events. We must be waiting,yes, ready to open the door of our heart, and share our possessions, should Jesus come even at midnight or before sunrise. Whatever happens anytime, anywhere, must be received as though Jesus were here in person.
On another point too, Jesus overturns oriental custom and sends us back to the drawing board of our theology and organization of life. Normally, when a master returns, his servants must wait on him. Now the reverse is to happen: The master will put on an apron, seat the servants at table, and proceed to wait on them. In our service of receiving others in our heart or home, it is we who benefit most. When we try to be of service to others, it is they who heap good gifts on us.
Sacrifice goes into this enterprise. No one can form deep ties with others, even with one’s own flesh and blood, without some carrying of the cross with Jesus. But our sacrifice is inspired by his, for his goodness inspires us to follow his example and his Holy Spirit supports us in the process. Our lives, like Christ’s own, become a sacred temple,a dwelling place for God. The charity of Christ forms us into a world family,just as God wants.
This basic sense of unity flows through Paul’s words to the Romans. We are all one through Adam and still more so through Jesus. Through Adam we share in the sins, prejudices and weaknesses, inherent in human nature, but through Jesus there is “overflowing grace” to change our lives. Paul writes, “grace far surpasses sin, leading to eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord.”