From Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus who has been called to be an apostle, and specially chosen to preach the Good News that God promised long ago through his prophets in the scriptures.
This news is about the Son of God who, according to the human nature he took was a descendant of David: it is about Jesus Christ our Lord who, in the order of the spirit, the spirit of holiness that was in him, was proclaimed Son of God in all his power through his resurrection from the dead.
Through him we received grace and our apostolic mission to preach the obedience of faith to all pagan nations in honour of his name. You are one of these nations, and by his call belong to Jesus Christ. To you all, then, who are God’s beloved in Rome, called to be saints, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send grace and peace.
On the Sunday before Christmas, the 4th Sunday of Advent, we are reminded of the Good News and of the foundaiton of our faith.
The Gospel is Good News because it is the revelation of some particular thing which happened at particular time, and involves a particular series of historical events, that had a particular beginning and a particular ‘end’.
The Gospel is not a philosophy, expounding eternal verities, still less some religious lowest common denominator of ethics and moral saws and sentences.
Paul makes that very clear. Our faith is rooted in the scandals of the Incarnation and the Cross, if our faith is the faith of the Church.
And our faith calls out to be lived in radical ways here and now, overturning the expectations of a world limited to its own established ways and expectations: doing the impossible in love.
- Where might you start? Next?
Byzantine Enamel. (11th C) in the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. (c) 2016, Allen Morris