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“We are the Lord’s.”

This weekend, His Grace will be presiding and preaching at our Masses, which is truly a blessing. With this being the celebration of our 35th anniversary as a parish since our first Eucharist together, and the fact that I won’t be preaching, I thought it might be nice to briefly reflect on the second of our readings this weekend.

We continue St. Paul’s letter to the Roman church. Rome, as one of the big cities of the ancient world, would have had all sorts of people within it– different ethnicities, religions, various economic differences, languages, etc. It’s not all that difficult to imagine, especially since we are able to experience this either here in Canada or elsewhere. It’s also not that hard to imagine then that the Roman church, made up of Jewish Christians as well as Gentile converts, would have also suffered from the threat of division then as well. Chapter 14 is all about encouraging them to find ways to remain united in Christ. He calls them not to worry about the smaller stuff, and to instead focus on the central things of faith– the smaller things can be ordered to the thanksgiving and glory of God.

This all leads to our passage this Sunday: “Brothers and sisters: We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living” (Rom 14:7-9).

What a short, but beautiful couple of verses! We belong entirely to the Lord as his special possession. We have been ransomed, purchased, “not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish (1 Peter 1:18-19). Christ died and rose so that he might gather us again to himself, and not only the living, but also those who have died–who have gone before us with the sign of faith and rest in the sleep of peace. In everything that we do then– no matter the differences–in life and in death, we belong entirely to God.

This being the case, then logically we also belong to one another. St. Paul uses several images to convey the mystical unity of believers with Christ and with one another. The Church as the Body of Christ in earlier in his letter to the Romans and throughout his letters the Corinthians, as well as the Church as a Holy Temple in the letter to the Ephesians: “You are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God” (2:19-22).

And maybe this is especially relevant with our parish’s 35th anniversary in which we celebrate our belonging to the Lord and our belonging to one another. Our unity in Christ is a free gift, but it also requires our cooperation and willingness–our work and sacrifice. It also requires what our first reading and gospel call us to: forgiveness.

In fellowship with the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, St. Joseph, St. Timothy, and all the saints, let us commend ourselves, our lives, and one another to God through Christ our Lord.

Fr. Brian Trueman



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