Tuesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8:18-25; Luke 13:18-21)
In Robert Duvall’s film “The Apostle” a slick evangelist preacher with an eye for other women kills the man who is having an affair with his wife and then flees the law. He experiences true conversion and begins to preach again but in a much humbler mode. The redemption reaches a climax when the preacher courts another woman whom he is tempted to seduce. But now the man no longer fools himself and resists the sin.
Duvall’s apostle perfectly illustrates the spiritual renewal of which St. Paul writes to the Romans. The redeemed person can no longer live by the flesh and yet his/her body groans with desire. Fortunately God’s Spirit, now within the redeemed, triumphs. Paul indicates the dynamics of the Spirit’s victory. It fills the convert with hope for the recreation of all nature, what we see as the reward of heaven.
We experience our nature at odds with the Spirit in different ways. When we desire to make a cruel remark to someone who offends us, we experience a duel between sin and righteousness. When we are inclined to lie to escape a tax or a fine, we undergo the same war within. At such moments it is helpful to recall that our everlasting life is at stake.