Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

(Romans 1:16-25; Luke 11:37-41)

The trajectory of Dominique Strauss-Kahn sheds some light on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. Mr. Strauss-Kahn is the French diplomat who was accused of raping a hotel worker in New York a few months back. It turned out that most probably the two engaged in consensual sex, but the public reaction did not die down with the dismissal of rape charges. Once talked about as a candidate for the French presidency, now the people of France, according to one press report at least, have dismissed Strauss-Kahn as a viable choice. They ask, do we want a man who would engage in casual sex to be our leader?

In the reading from Romans today, Paul shows how those who ignore God’s revelation in natural law will similarly be left to their own ruin. People should realize from the way the world functions sex outside of marriage is not okay. Rather humans must strive to overcome the inclination to lust. The gospel, described by Paul as the “power of God,” offers humans the best possibility of accomplishing the task. It gives people not just a community as a support group or eternal life as an incentive but the grace of the Holy Spirit to act virtuously.

Then why do some Christians remain seemingly imprisoned by sex? The human psyche is an area more complicated than the traffic of a city. It is possible that some need specialized help to forego the urge to pleasure. For all in such need, we pray for special intervention. After all, for many of them it is a question of hell in the hereafter but, for all the guilt they experience, of living hell on earth.