Reflection on the Daily Readings for 10/13/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary # 468. Romans 1:16-25. Psalm 19:2-3.4-5. Luke

Paul often becomes vitriolic when he describes the vices that infest the
human race. He is rough on those who are confirmed sinners and who are
foolish in being unaware what vice does to the inner life in the Spirit.
Paul catalogues these vices in several of his epistles and we have a good
listing of them in chapter one of Romans. We need to keep in mind that he
will confront us the readers with the opposite listing of virtues and
encourage us to offset evil by practicing the virtues based on faith, hope,
and love-- our baptismal gifts from the Spirit.  Wisdom is contrasted with
foolishness.  We need such distinctions in order to discern what is going
on in our spiritual life.  Had we lived in Paul's time the listing would
have made sense, but today these vices and sins are camoflouged in and
through an atomosphere of materialism, hedonism, and lack of discernment.
Comfort zones prevent us from recognizing some of these unsavory habits
that may inveigh our own lives.  Just think of the not so subtle invasion
of pornography on the internet.

Both Paul and Jesus make strong demands on us to live righteous and
virtuous lives, but it is often difficult for us to hear their voices when
we are surrounded by so much noise, distractions, attractions, and
unwholesome entertainment.  Worldly interests easily are passed over as
just being our "comfort zone." We need to ponder over, reflect upon, and
listen or read these words of Paul and Jesus if we are to put them into
practice through wholesome and good living of the commandments and
inspirations offered to us through the Scriptures.  We need the gift of the
Spirit called discernment to help us become transparent to one another and
honest in our dealings and relationships with each other.

Chapter one of Paul's epistle to the Romans summons us to see and discern
what really is important and wise in order to offset the foolishness that
surrounds us.  Often we think that the worldly interests are not so bad.
This then becomes our comfort and leisure rather than the good use of time
for the virtues and for prayer.

Jesus teaches us that our interior thoughts and desires are very important;
the externals that we are encouraged to display are often superficial and
turn attention to ourselves.  Sometimes we need to get out of ourselves by
seeing another person who just needs a hug.  Amen.