Sometimes, the ‘News’ is so ‘Good’ that it requires a second take.
That thought occurred to me this morning as I gathered with a band of brothers to break open the scripture readings we’ll hear at Mass this Sunday.
The spiritual insights flowed fast and furiously as we pondered the words of Jeremiah, noting how much he seems to have trusted the Lord—despite the terrors and enemies that surrounded him. Also, how very human he seemed in one regard:
Let me witness the vengeance you take on them…
We ‘get’ Jeremiah. This instinct of his feels quite familiar: ‘We don’t mind being down, Lord, as long as the bad guys get what’s coming to them in the end…’
It’s a little harder, we realized, to understand what we hear in the second reading – a passage taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans. In fact, one member of our small group thought there must have been a typo in our reprints of the reading. This line in particular tripped him up:
But the gift is not like the transgression.
The first time through, he was sure the ‘NOT’ had been inserted inadvertently. After all, in an eye-for-an-eye world, it makes more sense for the gift to be EQUAL to the transgression. Tit for tat. Payback time.
Indeed: It’s hard to comprehend the divine calculus that Paul lays out for us:
how much more did the grace of God
and the gracious gift of the one man Jesus Christ
overflow for the many.
We bask in the overflow, don’t we? We revel in the grace that none of us deserves. We praise the Lord that we have been made heirs to this Good News. And that it is, in fact, NOT a typo.
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.