Year A: 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: Romans 14: 7-9
This is the last reading from the Letter to the Romans and it forms a summary of much that we have read and reflected on over the last few weeks.
Our lives are not as insignificant as we sometimes believe but, as St Paul says, they have an effect on others. Our lives are especially significant because of our relationship with Jesus.
The Letter was written at a time when the early Christians were coming to terms with the fact that the return of Jesus in glory was not as imminent as they had hoped. Members of the community were dying - some of natural causes - but others because of persecution.
They were struggling to understand how this fitted in with Jesusí promise to go and prepare a place for them and then come back - straight back - to take them home.
It was a problem - but St Paul helps them to see that life and death are not the great divide for God as they are for us.
Because we died with Christ in Baptism, we now live within His eternal life. We belong to His Body as closely as our arm or leg belongs to ours - and so, unless we so choose, we cannot be separated from Him,
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus became Lord of the living and the dead - and so, though for us, death can seem like an end, for those re-born into the new life of Christ it is an entry into a new way of being.
Our lives - lived in love and forgiveness - affect others.
Our deaths too - if approached with the same love - the same forgiveness can also influence others.
As with the First Reading today, the idea is not to become morbid or fixated on death - but to live life with an understanding that it is not always going to be like this.
One day, it will change - and how we enter into the next phase will be determined by how we live this one!
What does it mean for me?
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