Thursday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 8:31b-39; Luke 13:31-35)
Fr. Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J., was one of St. Paul’s best commentators during the twentieth century. He wrote widely-read studies on Paul’s theology, his Letter to the Romans, as well as other New Testament works. His discussion of today’s passage is interesting for what it does not say. Rather than exult the passage as one of the greatest inspirational pieces of the Bible, he seems to downplay it as “rhetorical” with “(n)o little emotional language.”
Paul is summing up the theme of Romans 8. Christians are at war with the flesh pulling in the way of death and opposite way to life. It would be a hopeless struggle without the Spirit of Christ strengthening our resolve from within. As difficult as the struggle can become, nothing -- Paul writes in today’s passage -- can separate us from Christ. Full redemption is on the way. Christians must not give up the fight.
The war that Paul describes is as much a reality today as in his time. Sexual excess, encouraged by libertinism, consumes individuals and destroys families. We look to Christ as a model and, more importantly, as the source of resistance. Giving ourselves over to him will bring victory in the struggle and peace in the heart.