Tuesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 5:12.15b.17-19.20b-21; Luke 12:35-38)
The Protestant theologian surprised himself. He picked up a copy of Blessed John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua. He expected that reading the work would draw a definitive line between himself and the great Catholic convert. He wanted to hate Newman. But thinking through his ideas, he found himself drawn to Newman’s argumentation. His adversary showed him the priority of dogma over works and feelings. Newman explained convincingly what is believed about Jesus is foundational to following him. The incident illustrates what St. Paul is telling us in today’s first reading: where sin abounds, grace abounds even more.
Paul is trying to make sense of a fallen world. Humans sin. In so doing, they have found themselves confronting death and all sorts of other troubles. But sin has been more than compensated for by Jesus. Being both God and human, his obedience has made up for human culpability. Because of Jesus’s returning God’s favor to humanity, humans can love one another truly and so merit eternal life.
We sometimes belittle theology. We may not think it important that Jesus has two natures which are completely separate although unified in a single person. Granted, such distinctions are not in the end more important for us as individuals than following his teaching. Still an appreciation of who he is should give us more reason to heed his words.