First Sunday of Advent – December 2, 2012 – Romans 7:1-6 – Freedom from the Law: An Invitation
We read and hear much these beginning days of the Advent season that reminds us of the importance of the rejected cornerstone. It is a perfect time of year to allow ourselves to reflect on and in the Spirit; it is a hallowed season in which we might take the opportunity to step aside, to stand down, to relax into a sacred place where we might hear the Word of God fully. Let us give ourselves this gift of time and grace and peace. Let us allow ourselves to be free from the old laws that bind us.
In today’s Noontime, Paul explains that Christ followers have a different understanding of the law than their brethren the Jewish people because of the presence of Christ in their lives. “Law binds the living, not the dead, as exemplified in marriage, which binds in life but is dissolved through death. Similarly, Christians who through baptism have died with Christ to sin [see Chapter 6 Romans] are freed from the law that occasioned transgressions, which in turn were productive of death. Now that Christians are joined in Christ, the power of Christ’s resurrection makes it possible for them to bear the fruit of newness of life for God”. (Senior 238)
It is easy to become lost in Paul’s logic but the essence of his message today is this: When we no longer cling to the limiting oldness in which we may find ourselves, we not only gain freedom . . . we also find resurrection. When we move into Christ, as the widow does in Paul’s example, we are offered more than a new liberation; we are given the very gift of transformation itself. When we dare to open the closed gates in our lives we discover an invitation to conversion. Let us step forward in acceptance of Christ’s gift.
We might take on a spiritual project this Advent. We might challenge ourselves to see and hear some new layer in the old, precious stories that present themselves to us each year. Let us invite God to plumb our depths and challenge our resting in a place for too long. Let us put on our pilgrim garb to set out for a well-known destination but in hopes that the journey will bring a new invitation for transformation. And so let us pray . . .
Grace us this week with your presence, O Lord, that we may focus our hopes and our work in you.
May these opening days of the Advent season bring us a renewed hope in Christ.
May our journey bring us a newly found freedom in the Spirit.
May we learn from the rejected cornerstone, Jesus, that our new liberation is also an invitation to transformation.
And may we await in joy the Christ’s coming as we await the fulfillment of the promises whispered to us by our maker.
Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.238. Print.