Sunday Scripture readings, July 7, 2019: Something to boast about

The Catholic News Service column, “Speak to Me Lord,” offers reflections on the Sunday Scripture readings. (CNS/Nancy Wiechec)

July 7, Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C
1) Is 66:10-14
Psalm 66:1-7, 16, 20
2) Gal 6:14-18
Gospel: Lk 10:1-12, 17-20 or 10:1-9

By Kevin Perrotta
Catholic News Service

Through Jesus’ death on the cross, St. Paul says, “the world has been crucified” to him and he to the world (Gal 6:14). With this shocking image — think of what crucifixion is — St. Paul declares the end of his connection with “the world.” But what is this “world” to which he no longer has any ties?

By “the world” here, St. Paul doesn’t mean God’s good creation, but something sinister. He means human society influenced, shaped, even dominated by deceptions.

In every society, certain kinds of evils seem plausible ways of attaining happiness. We all have firsthand experience with “the world” in this sense: a school where bullying and meanness rule, a work situation where misogyny or racism prevails, a business where keeping facts from clients or customers is considered normal.

“The world” is where people implicitly share the conviction that God and his ways do not apply.

St. Paul says not only that he has died to “the world,” he has become a “new creation” (Gal 6:15).

He means a change so profound it is like being created all over again. Some inner guidance system now alerts him to the lies of the world and steers him away, leading him to love and serve other people.

A power within him enables him to get free of delusions, to step outside his routines and self-care to take a concern for the needs of others.

Kevin Perrotta writes for the Catholic News Service Scripture column, “Speak to Me Lord.” (CNS photo/courtesy Kevin Perrotta)

For St. Paul, none of this is just words. He says he “boasts” about Jesus’ death, through which these changes have happened to him.

A person doesn’t boast about mere ideas — about a geometrical theorem or the laws of thermodynamics. You boast because you actually won the race, bought the house at a considerable discount, married the finest woman/guy you ever met, celebrated the profitable 10th anniversary of your restaurant, etc.

You boast about what you’ve really experienced. The personal change St. Paul talks about is real in his life.

It became real at the point when he was baptized, for that was when he was joined to Jesus’ death and resurrection and received the Holy Spirit.

Well, what about us? We’ve been baptized. Is all of this real for us? Do we experience it? Can we boast of Jesus’ death and resurrection as the transforming power that shapes our lives?

Could any questions be more important for us to ponder?

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Perrotta is the editor and an author of the “Six Weeks With the Bible” series, teaches part time at Siena Heights University and leads Holy Land pilgrimages. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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