St John XXIII, pope
28th Week in Ordinary Time (B) : Monday 11th October 2021
Rom. 1:1-7; Ps. 97:1,2-4;
Lk. 11:29-32 (Ps Wk IV)
In his letter to the Roman’s, Paul expresses his new understanding and attitude toward the Torah or the Law. In Paul’s understanding, the Torah was no longer “law”, that is, no longer normative or obligatory for Christians. This is because it is by the Law that the Jews put Jesus to a shameful and dishonourable death, and yet, God raised Jesus from the dead. Therefore, according to Paul, the Torah has been useful in helping Christians to know how they got to the present, but now it no longer has any binding rules for them for the future.
Jesus responds to the Jewish authorities who ask for a sign to demonstrate that his power is not demoniac. The Pharisees and scribes, the religious leaders and experts of the Torah, had accused Jesus of getting his power from Satan. Jesus says that he himself is the sign. He compares himself to Jonah, at who’s coming, the people of Nineveh repented and changed their lives. Jesus, too, comes with a message of salvation if only the people heed it. If they do not adhere to his message, the repentance and power that Jesus brings will move away from them to others who are far off.
As Christians, we too may be caught up with merely following the rules and laws of the Church without adhering to the ‘spirit’ of the message that Jesus brings us. Rules and laws are a means to an end and not an end in themselves. They are meant to help us draw closer to Jesus and have an intimate relationship with him.
Lord, may You be the first in my life.