“We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires... The church needs to withstand the tides of trends and the latest novelties.... We must become mature in this adult faith, we must guide the flock of Christ to this faith.” - Pope Benedict XVI
(Romans 1:16-25): Brothers and sisters:
I am not ashamed of the Gospel.
It is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes:
for Jew first, and then Greek.
For in it is revealed the righteousness of God from faith to faith;
as it is written, "The one who is righteous by faith will live."
The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven
against every impiety and wickedness
of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
For what can be known about God is evident to them,
because God made it evident to them.
Ever since the creation of the world,
his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity
have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made.
As a result, they have no excuse;
for although they knew God
they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.
Instead, they became vain in their reasoning,
and their senseless minds were darkened.
While claiming to be wise, they became fools
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God
for the likeness of an image of mortal man
or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes.
Therefore, God handed them over to impurity
through the lusts of their hearts
for the mutual degradation of their bodies.
They exchanged the truth of God for a lie
and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator,
who is blessed forever. Amen.
The reading today from St Paul is pretty straightforward: “Brothers and Sisters: I am not ashamed of the Gospel”. We are told that salvation is ours if we try to live our lives being faithful to the Gospel.
In a world full of false gods and a world, which promotes these false gods, it can be difficult to live remembering the messages of the Gospel. We are tempted all the time to make decisions for personal gain, forgetting that we are called to think and to behave “out of love” as described in the Gospel.
The reading today reminds us of our faithfulness to God and all that Jesus modeled for us, while on earth. The Gospel messages show us how Jesus loved the weak and the strong, people of influence and people with no influence, the healthy and those lacking good health, people with money and power and those who owned nothing and had few options. Jesus asks us to be faithful to the Gospel, in our thoughts and in our actions, and to not “exchange the truth for a lie.” While there are endless temptations we are reminded to keep our faith strong, making the Gospel the backbone of who we are and how we live our lives.
The Gospel message is as alive today as it was in the time of Jesus and we are directly reminded that “The one who is righteous by faith will live”; and those who “Become vain in their reasoning, while claiming to be wise will become fools by exchanging the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of mortal man.”
If we are witnesses to Christ, we must know that the truth will always shine through the darkness. This is our mission amidst the present culture in which we all live in, trying to model our hearts to the Scared Heart of Jesus. Let us then remember that blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see the face God (Mat 5:8). Each one must decide what he wants to see for all eternity, we can not have it both ways.