Today’s readings focus on seeking God’s help to guide our lives, to teach and assist us in right judgement. In his letter to the Romans, St Paul wrestles with the tension we experience between the person we want to be and actions that detract from and undermine that goal; as he writes ‘For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind’. All human beings experience this tension in one way or another, but St Paul reassures us that God is with us in our daily struggle to live with integrity, ‘Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord’. The Psalm beautifully sums up the true meaning of the moral law, which is to give life, to enable just relationships, to care for each other and creation – the law of the Lord ‘is my delight’ because through it we can live with compassion. In the Gospel, Jesus challenges the people to judge with insight and integrity. The Second Vatican Council spoke of interpreting the ‘signs of the times’, discerning the work of the Spirit in our world in works of love and justice. Jesus exhorts the people of his own time, and us too, to discern the presence of the Kingdom in our world, to consider how we can live out God’s statutes in our own time.
Robert Gascoigne is a parishioner at St Brigid’s, Marrickville. He is a theologian who taught for many years at the Australian Catholic University.