Monday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

What does the Christian journey look like after baptism?  Receiving Grace is the beginning of a lifelong transformation.  It is a transformation that God initiates, but one that we must consent to.  Am I a disciple of Jesus Christ?  What does that mean?  What does that look like?  How do I cooperate with grace?


Death is understood in two ways. The first is the familiar definition—when the soul is separated from the body at the end of life. The second is that, while abiding in that same body, the soul pursues the desires of the flesh and lives in sin.1


So that he would not appear to have exempted himself through pride when he said “your sins in which you walked,” he now adds “in which we also lived.” However, the one who says he has lived confesses past, not present, transgressions.2


What then is meant by this wickedness of the natural man and of those who … “by nature” are children of wrath? Could this possibly be the nature created in Adam? That created nature was debased in him. It has run and is running its course now through everyone by nature, so that nothing frees us from condemnation except the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.3


Paul says this in case the secret thought should steal upon us that “if we are not saved by our own works, at least we are saved by our own faith, and so in another way our salvation is of ourselves.” Thus he added the statement that faith too is not in our own will but in God’s gift. Not that he means to take away free choice from humanity … but that even this very freedom of choice has God as its author, and all things are to be referred to his generosity, in that he has even allowed us to will the good.4


God’s mission was not to save people in order that they may remain barren or inert. For Scripture says that faith has saved us. Put better: Since God willed it, faith has saved us. Now in what case, tell me, does faith save without itself doing anything at all? Faith’s workings themselves are a gift of God, lest anyone should boast. What then is Paul saying? Not that God has forbidden works but that he has forbidden us to be justified by works. No one, Paul says, is justified by works, precisely in order that the grace and benevolence of God may become apparent!5


He does not say “so that we might begin” but “so that we should walk”—all the way. For walking is a metaphor that suggests continuance, extending to the end of our lives. Suppose we had to walk a road that leads to a royal city, but after having gone almost all the way we grow faint almost at the end and stop. We would then have no profit. Instead Paul says we are created “for good works.”6


This brother is fittingly rebuked. He eagerly desired to trouble the steward of the heavenly with the corruptible. Not a neutral judge but piety as mediator should divide an inheritance among brothers, although people should seek an inheritance of immortality, not of money.7


It is true that a person’s life is not from one’s possessions or because of having an overabundance. He who is rich toward God is very blessed and has glorious hope. Who is he? Evidently, one who does not love wealth but rather loves virtue, and to whom few things are sufficient. It is one whose hand is open to the needs of the poor, comforting the sorrows of those in poverty according to his means and the utmost of his power. He gathers in the storehouses that are above and lays up treasures in heaven. Such a one shall find the interest of his virtue and the reward of his right and blameless life.8


  1. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 1.2.1–2. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 127). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 1.2.1 SEQ. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 129). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. ON MARRIAGE AND CONCUPISCENCE 2.20. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 130). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 1.2.8–9. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 133). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 4.2.9. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 134). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 4.2.9. Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 135). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  7. EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 7.122. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 207). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  8. COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 89. Just, A. A. (Ed.). (2005). Luke (p. 208). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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