Homilette for Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Memorial of Our Lady of the Rosary

(Galatians 1:13-24)

The Black preacher began his sermon by identifying himself. He said, “I’m just a nobody, who came to tell anybody, about somebody, who died to save everybody.” In the first reading today, Paul uses more words but means to say essentially the same thing.

The passage contains Paul’s own account of God’s revelation to him of Jesus Christ. Biblical students note that the story lacks the embellishments of the three accounts of the incident in the Acts of the Apostles. Paul does not give details because his purpose is not primarily to tell his story. Rather, he intends to extol the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Neither does Paul dwell on Peter and the other apostles. They also pale in comparison to the unwarranted gift of grace.

Paul wants to impress upon his readers – which certainly include us along with the Galatians – that nothing which we do or anyone else does – be the person a Presidential candidate or a World Series hero – can be as significant for us as the love of God. Therefore, Paul indicates, it is only right that we stop calculating our own salvation and live completely for Christ. The irony (or mystery if you prefer) is that when we do so, we gain infinitely more than we can by our own efforts.

We might see praying the rosary as an example of what Paul intends here. Meditating on the mysteries of Jesus’ life as we recite the prayers by now as much part of us as the alphabet, we lose ourselves in thought. But our needs are not ignored. Rather, the Almighty takes them up for fulfillment.