Thursday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 6:19-23; Luke 12:49-53)
The man was involved in the numbers racket; that is, in collecting small bets on the final numbers of the daily stock market trading. As Al Capone is supposed to have said, “That’s where the money is.” And the man made much of it and spent it on liquor, dope, and other vices. Now he was dying alone in a rundown rental room. As today’s reading from St. Paul’s Romans poignantly says, “…the wages of sin is death.”
St. Paul has especially in mind the fact that sinful humanity will always die. Reflecting on Genesis, Paul concludes that the curse of Adam is a tendency to sin that ensnarls every human being and leads to his or her downfall. That is everyone except Jesus (and by special dispensation his Immaculate Mother). He not only transcended enslavement to sin but boosted his followers out of their entrapment. Trusting in Jesus as Lord, humans can now overcome the tendency to love creatures more than the Creator – what sin is all about.
We need to hold ourselves close to Jesus – desperately. Heeding his warnings and following his example, we actually become freer, happier people. We become, in other words, beneficiaries of the gift of eternal life.