Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 6:12-18; Luke 12:39-47)
Although the comparison with American slavery is troublesome, St. Paul often describes himself and his converts as “slaves of God.” He believes that people should not hesitate to trust themselves to a benevolent master like the Lord. Paul sees the situation as imminently better than that of people who are under the aegis of a lax master. In today’s reading from his letter to the Romans he describes both situations.
According to Paul, Christ has liberated those who accept him as Lord from sin. Now they have a choice. They can either give themselves over to their liberator as, in a sense, slaves to him. Or they can hang free. If they take the latter course, they will soon find themselves slaves again to some material obsession. Pleasure, power, and prestige are three common masters who may be lax but under whom subjects are ruined. Meanwhile, following the commands of the Lord leads to happiness and eternal life.
We may recoil at the words “slaves of God” because of the often bitter experience of American slaves. Yet we could not put ourselves in better hands. God will not always dictate to us what we must do. Rather, like wise parents when children mature, He will give us increasing autonomy. We cannot do better with any other master.