Thursday of Advent 4 – Romans 1:1-7

Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints:

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Why are you doing this?” she asked me. I was serving a small parish, a place of no terribly great significance. I was visiting an elderly woman. In worldly terms she was nothing special. She had done no great things. She did not have a pot of cash she could donate to my church. Her care facility was some distance away so it took a little while to get there. It was not the woman who asked me this question. It was someone else who asked what I was doing that day. All of us can say that it is a good thing to visit a lonely and house-bound person. Yet, her question stuck with me.

Why did I do that? Why do I do many of the things that I do? I believe, in that instance that the woman I visited was important to my Lord Jesus. He had died for her. Bringing her the sacrament, saying a prayer together, giving her a few minutes of my time, was a good thing to do. But I had to believe all those things. The world could not see them, not really. It did not see that anyone was listening to those prayers or that the sacramental meal was anything more than a mouthful of bread and wine.

Yet faith led me. Jesus spoke through me, His Spirit comforted her, his body and blood fed her, and His divine ear was attentive to our prayers. I obeyed his call to be present for her because I believed all those things to be true. What is more, I believe in Him. He cares through me.

Paul says he has received a gift and authority (grace and apostleship) to bring about the obedience of faith among all the nations. Why do you do some of the things that you do, indeed all the things that you do. I pray it is because Jesus is the One you believe in. If not, it is Advent, time to repent. If so, rejoice in that obedience.

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