Over a number of weeks now the Liturgy has been offering readings from Romans 8. This chapter means to build on and reverse the disheartening reality of Chapter 7, highlighted in Paul’ famous saying, ’I know what is right and I want what is right, but I do what is wrong; who will save me from this death (caused by sin)? What saves from death is my faith in Jesus; by that faith I shall live forever. (The New Testament insists that when God and a human being love each other, life forever can be the only result, not death). Chapter 8, looking to the person who believes in Jesus, offers a number of reasons for joy, confidence and happiness. Paul offers these reasons in short paragraphs and our Liturgy cites each paragraph for our consideration. In this liturgical situation it falls to preacher and worshipper to see how the brief paragraph cited on a Sunday shows why the believer has hope, not discouragement. Included among these reasons for joy and confidence is the assurance that, through faith, the entire person, soul and body (not just soul) will live, that all creation, now unable to achieve life, will one day be perfect, that the Spirit of God is now praying for us when we do not know how to pray well ourselves. Faith in Jesus will not give in to death, persecution, suffering; God will let nothing destroy the love, the union between Himself and the believer. To apply Luke’s words to our liturgical situation, ’Were not our hearts on fire when Jesus, through Paul, explained God’s reality, our reality to us?’ John Kilgallen, S.J.
Reflections on Romans 8