Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Justified by God’s Grace

By Beth DeCristofaro

For there is no distinction; all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God. They are justified freely by his grace through the redemption in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24)

Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter. (Luke 11:52)

Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God. (Psalm 42, Entrance Antiphon, Mass for the Day)

Common wisdom says that if it’s free then it is of little worth.  Studies show that when people need to fork over a little money, or there is some effort in achieving, then they value the commodity.  This same idea leads executives to claim that extravagant salaries prove the value of the issues they espouse or the products they sell.  So what is God doing?
We are made justified or in right relationship with God who bestows freely, by the gift of Jesus Christ.  It is stunning that the Creator of All invites me to approach divinity because hand in hand, divinity walks with me should I accept the invitation.  All of my good works while loving and holy do not earn me that invitation.  No wonder Jesus is frustrated by the scholars who impart to the expression of law the same weight as the Life of the Word, Jesus. 

It would turn the world upside down if we would all live as freely justified as God would like us to live.  We can do this by rooting out entrenched prejudices, ideas or rituals that keep us from entering God’s freely given life in Christ. 

Dying within several weeks of each other, Cursillo in Arlington lost two faith-filled, kind, generous-in-action Brothers in Christ.  They will be missed for so many reasons.  My life, our lives, have been enriched by Carlos and Art.  God created and gifted them, freely.  God justified me.  Who am I keeping from “entering”?  How can I best joyfully live, grateful to be justified in Christ and grateful for such irreplaceable Brothers? 

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