daily biblical sermons

Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Thursday, 30th Week of the Year, October 31, 2013
Rom. 8:31-35, 37-39, Ps. 108, Luke 13:31-35

"What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31).

Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 8:39). Only our own sins can do this, and Christ came precisely to free us from our sins by dying on the cross to justify us from sin. "He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things in him?" (Rom. 8:32). We see here that it was at the initiative of the Father that Christ was sent to die for our sins and then to intercede for us with the Father by the merits of his death on the cross, which satisfied God's justice by making just reparation for our sins. Thus his death propitiated God on our behalf because of our sins (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2).

It is by the merits of his death that Christ intercedes for us before the Father. So "who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, and indeed intercedes for us?" (Rom. 8:34). Christ is indeed our great intercessor before the Father, the means that God has given to us to propitiate the Father (Rom. 3:25; 1 John 2:2) and to placate his wrath against us because of our sins (Rom. 1:18; 5:9). Christ "holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues for ever. Consequently he is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:25). "Christ has entered, not into a sanctuary made with hands, a copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf" (Heb. 9:24). His intercession is the sacrifice of himself that takes away our sins, because it makes reparation for them that satisfies God's justice. So "he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26).

Christ "was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification" (Rom. 4:25). In his death we have life, the forgiveness of our sins, and peace with God; and nothing outside of us can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? ... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us" (Rom. 8:35, 37).

Each one of us has his own thorn in the flesh through which he is to come to perfection, and God tells me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor. 12:9). Therefore with St. Paul I say, "I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Each of us has his own particular thorn, but God in Christ gives us the power to overcome it, and God's power is perfected in us in our weaknesses. So "we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies" (2 Cor. 4:8-10).


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