February 25, 2018 — Second Sunday of Lent
GN 22: 1-2, 9A, 10-13, 15-18; PS 116: 10, 15-19; ROM 8: 31B-34; MK 9: 2-10
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) posts notes regarding all the Books of the Bible. In its introduction to Paul’s Letter to the Romans (our Second Reading), the USCCB says, “Of all the letters of Paul, that to the Christians at Rome has long held pride of place. It is the longest and most systematic unfolding of the apostle’s thought, expounding the gospel of God’s righteousness that saves all who believe; it reflects a universal outlook.”
Paul’s Letter to the Romans is in fact the longest of his letters in the New Testament (Romans is more than 7,000 words; that is much shorter, of course, than the shortest Gospel, Mark, which is still more than 11,000 words.) However, as stated by the Bishops, the Letter to the Romans explained in a more detailed way Paul’s theology and spirituality than any other letter.
Regardless the length, today’s reading contains a statement with which many of us are familiar, but which has great meaning: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The significance of that is that if we are on the side of righteousness, which should be a major goal of our Lenten experience, there should be nothing to threaten us.
We understand that we will be judged. Paul’s point is if we are judged “not guilty” by God, who can bring an additional charge with any merit? Or, if Jesus is our advocate, promoting our benefit, then who can condemn us? This is the time to place our trust in God, and in His love.