JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
Meditation for Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year B
(Rm 3:21-30; Lk 11:47-54)
Today we journey with St Paul as he teaches about justification. He says that the law and the prophets bear witness to God’s righteousness. It was taught that one was made righteous or justified by keeping the law. The Jews broke the law, while the Gentiles worshipped many gods. “There is no distinction; since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That means justification comes as a free gift of grace, through redemption in Jesus Christ. There is no room for boasting, judging or condemning others, for no one can claim to be righteous by his efforts.
Since God has pleased to reveal his righteousness through Jesus Christ crucified, we can come under the shadow of Jesus’ righteousness by having faith in Him. This faith is made available to both Jews and Gentiles. And since Jesus is the fulfilment of the law and the prophets, faith in Him includes holding fast the law as practical and determinate steps to walking with Jesus, in whom is our justification. Now, God justifies he who has faith in Jesus Christ because the life of Jesus becomes the new rule of life, and even the guide to interpret the law and the prophets. Since Christ died for us while we were sinners, the grace of his justification is given outside of the law. “Since God is one; and He will justify the circumcised on the ground of their faith and the uncircumcised through their faith.”
The hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees makes them share in the guilt of their fathers who killed the prophets. For that was the principle that led to such persecutions. They claimed faith in God but rejected the messengers of God who condemned their evil ways. “So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them and you built their tombs.” Therefore, faith in Jesus Christ that does not reflect in one’s life or good works becomes another form of crucifixion; such faith is empty and cannot bring justification.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church
Thursday October 14th, 2021.