25 October, 2019. Friday of Week 29

1st Reading: Romans 7:18-25

Who can resolve my inner conflict? Only God, through Jesus Christ

For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.

Responsorial: Psalm 118:66, 68, 76-77, 93-94

R./: Teach me your laws, O Lord.

Teach me discernment and knowledge
for I trust in your commands.
You are good and your deeds are good;
teach me your statutes. (R./)
Let your love be ready to console me
by your promise to your servant.
Let your love come to me and I shall live
for your law is my delight. (R./)
I will never forget your precepts
for with them you give me life.
Save me, for I am yours
since I seek your precepts (R./)

Gospel: Luke 12:54-59

If you can foretell the weather, why can’t you read the signs of the time?

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you immediately say, ‘It is going to rain;’ and so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat;’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, or you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I ell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.”


The struggle to hope

Hope is an elusive virtue to assess, since faith and love seem more self-explanatory. Faith can be clarified by combining nature, the Bible and theology, while love can clearly be practiced (or not) in response to the needs of our neighbour. Hope is perhaps the most intangible the three major virtues, so as not to fall between despair and presumption.
St Paul offers an existential view of hope. He describes his struggless not with calm detachment but in the emotional language of his own complicated self. Although a gifted and creative preacher, he seemed a thorny character to many in the church, especially to Peter and the Jewish Christians. Sometimes he felt frustrated and despondent at others’ rejection of him. At other times he acted so impulsively and felt so conflicted that he was at war within himself. Paul agonizes at length over these inner conflicts: “My inner self agrees with the law of God, but I see in myself another law at war with the law of my mind.” This leads to his impassioned cry, “What a wretch I am. Who can free me from this body under the power of death?” Happily, this bout of self-criticism does not end up in futile despair. Instead it blossoms into an act of thanksgiving, “All praise to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” He is candidly aware of being conflicted, confused, caught between his ideals and the danger of selfish pride, but is still full of hope.
Today’s gospel shows how impulsiveness can be turned into a necessary virtue. Some chances do not come a second time, and our failure to rise to an occasion could mean losing a golden opportunity. Some graces belong to the day and the hour, the kairos, a favourite biblical term. Kairos is not just an ordinary moment like any other in the long sequence of time (chronos) but a very special moment with vital implications. The moment must be seized, for the sake of love and fidelity. The stakes are high, and not to decide is itself a negative decision.

Signs of the times

We tend to talk a lot about the weather in Ireland, because it’s so variable. We find it a useful thing to talk about when we have nothing much else to say. Because the winds in Ireland are so changeable, it’s hard to make long-range weather forecasts. It has either been raining or is raining or is about to rain, and a dry spell for days in a row is considered it worthy of comment.
The Galileans were equally aware of changing weather conditions. They knew what weather to expect from the direction of the wind and could read the signs in the earth and sky. Still they were not able to read signs of the times they were living in. They failed to recognize from what Jesus was saying and doing that God was moving among them in a special way. We too can be good at weather forecasting but not so aware of the Lord’s presence in our lives. Jesus promised to be with us always until the end of time. The signs of his presence can be subtle and non-dramatic, but it is very real. We pray for a better understanding of grace in our lives, in the course of every day.


Blessed Thaddaeus McCarthy, bishop

Thaddeus McCarthy (1455-1492). When his appointment as bishop of Ross was opposed, he went on pilgrimage to Rome, where pope Innocent VII appointed him bishop of Cork and Cloyne; but he never ministered in either diocese, since he died in Ivrea, Italy, on his return journey from Rome, October 25th, 1492. He was beatified in 1896.

One Comment

  1. sean walsh says:

    “So then, with my mind I am a slave to the law of God, but with my flesh I am a slave to the law of sin.”
    The celebrant to me as he unvested: “Thank you for reading Paul..”
    I said, “That was me!..”
    He turned back as he made to exit, smiled and said -“That was me…”

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