Monday, September 19

A Word of Praise
Most of us have a heavy burden of emotional junk accumulated from early childhood. The body serves as the storehouse for this undigested emotional material. The Spirit initiates the process of healing by evacuating the junk. This takes place as a result of the deep rest of mind and body in contemplative prayer.
Thomas Keating, Invitation to Love, p. 110

Romans 16:1-16

Notes
This section of Romans contains more personal greetings than the rest of Paul’s letters put together. A few things to notice – –
1. Phoebe is identified as “a deaconess of the church at Cenchreae.” It is unusual to find a reference to a church official this early in Paul’s correspondence. In fact, there are no other allusions to a deaconess in the New Testament. In Philippians 1, Paul speaks of “bishops and deacons,” and one may conclude that, where there are deacons, the possibility of deaconesses cannot be ruled out.

2. Prisca (Priscilla) and Aquila were among Paul’s closest friends. In I Corinthians 16:19 the couple seems to be located in Ephesus. In Acts:18, Paul finds them in Corinth and stays with them there. Now they are reported in Rome.

3. Nothing whatever is known from any other source about the other twenty individuals and two families mentioned in these verses. Only one of the names is mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament. Rufus is found in Mark 15:21 where Simon of Cyrene is named as the father of Alexander and Rufus.

4. Three other of Paul’s letters mention the “holy kiss” of verse 16. (! Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Corinthians 16:20, and 2 Corinthians 13:12.) It is also found in 1 Peter 5:14. We know from other sources that the holy kiss was a regular part of the Roman liturgy around AD 150. This gesture of reconciliation is preserved today in the Passing of the Peace.

This Week’s Prayer

Monday, August 22

A Word of Praise
There is a peace that comes when lowering clouds burst and
the whole landscape is drenched in rain,
refreshing and cool.
There is the peace that comes when hours of sleeplessness
are finally swallowed up in sleep
deep relaxing and calm.
The Peace of God, which passes all understanding,
shall guard my heart and my thoughts.

O Peace of God, settle over me and within me
so that I cannot tell mine from thine
and thine from mine.
                                         Howard Thurman

Romans 2:1-11

Notes
1. These words are set in the context of the Final Judgment. Until that point God holds back from summary judgment to give people ample opportunity to repent. However, the postponement will yield even more wrath on the hard-hearted who do not repent.

2. The judgment will be impartial and universal. Every nation and race will be included and each will be judged alike. “There will be anguish and distress for everyone who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.” (vs, 9-10)

3. God will judge the people of the world according to their works. “For he will repay according to each one’s deeds.” (v.6) For the Jews, mere possession of the Torah is not a talisman to avoid judgment. What counts is doing Torah. Among the Gentiles are people who do what Torah requires even though they are not Jews.

4. The Final Judgment remains good news for millions, but we cannot downgrade that good news to a vague hope for a better life hereafter. When the clarity of the Christian view of future judgment is lost, so too are any moral imperative and the true hope of the oppressed.

This Week’s Prayer