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Doctrines & Morals

What a wretch I am?

Rom. 7:18-25, Lk. 12:54-59. Hope is a difficult virtue to appreciate and safeguard, since in many ways faith and love are more obvious. Faith can be clarified by studying nature, while love can clearly be obvious in our response to the needs of our neighbour. Hope is perhaps the most intangible of the three major virtues. In today’s first reading, Paul offers an existential view of hope. He views life’s challenges not in calm detachment but how he feels inside his complicated self. Although a gifted and creative Apostle, he proved to be a thorny character for many, especially for Peter and the Jewish Christians. Sometimes he feels frustrated and despondent at others’ rejection of him. At other times he acted so impulsively that his actions almost seemed against his own will. Paul agonises at length over his inner tensions: “My inner self agrees with the law of God, but I see in myself another law at war with the law of my mind.” This leads him to the impassioned cry: “What a wretch I am. Who can free me from this body under the power of death?”

This bout of self-criticism does not end up in futile moaning. Instead it blossoms into an act of thanksgiving: “All praise to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He is candidly aware of being conflicted, confused, caught between his ideals and the danger of selfish pride, but is still full of hope. Today’s Gospel shows us how impulsiveness can be turned into a necessary virtue. Some chances do not come a second time and our failure to rise to an occasion could mean losing a golden opportunity. Some graces belong to the day and the hour - 'the kairos,' a favourite biblical term, an opportune moment. 'Kairos' is not just an ordinary moment like any other in the long sequence or chronological time, called 'chronos' but a very special moment with vital implications. The moment must be seized, for the sake of love and fidelity. The Galileans were equally aware of changing weather conditions. They knew what weather to expect from the direction of the wind and could read the face of the earth and the sky. Still they were not able to read signs of the times they were living in. They failed to recognise from what Jesus was saying and doing that God was moving among them in a special way. We can also be good at weather forecasting but not so aware of the Lord’s presence in our lives. Jesus promised to be with us always until the end of time. The signs of His presence can be subtle and non-dramatic, but it is very real. We pray for a better understanding of grace in our lives, in the course of every day.

May the Lord help us to live with assurance that Jesus has won the ultimate victory so that we may share in His triumph over evil! Amen!! Good morning and have a pleasant day!!!

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