The Responsorial Psalm shows God in a particular light: “Their message goes out through all the earth.”
(Psalm 19). As “good stewards of the manifold grace of God,” (1Peter 4:10) we need to be conscious of how precious is the realization entrusted to us — that God’s stance toward us is that of saving, life-enhancing love.
In Romans 8: 12-17 Paul is describing what “salvation” is. God saves us by incorporating us into the body of his Son so that “in Christ” we might be filii in Filio, true sons and daughters of the Father through the grace of identification with, inclusion in, Jesus who is the “only Son of the Father” from all eternity.
If this is what salvation is, then it should characterize our whole experience of religion. This is what should set the tone, determine the spirit of everything we feel, think and do in living the Christian life.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption, through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”
If we let this realization fall out of focus, for ourselves or others, we are failing in stewardship. We are failing to preserve, use, and activate in the Church a priceless gift of God.
We “manage” this gift as faithful stewards by using it. We foster awareness of being sons and daughters of God by consciously praying for, expecting, discerning and following the inspirations of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are” — and are conscious of being — “sons and daughters of God.”
In this way “the Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” This is when we experience authentically that “Our God is the God of salvation.”
In Luke 13: 10-17 we encounter the greatest obstacle to the experience of salvation in the Church. It is the spirit of legalism. When Jesus cured a “daughter of Abraham” who “for eighteen years had been crippled,” all that the leader of the synagogue saw was that he had cured on a Sabbath, which he saw as a violation of God’s law. And the Pharisee party in the Church today would prefer to see people crippled in their Christian life for years, unable to experience the acceptance and compassion of God and of the Church, rather than interpret and apply the laws of the Church according to the heart of God, the loving Father of all his children.
Those who are “led by the Spirit” are focused on healing, not condemning. They judge by the heart of the Father, who is “the God of salvation.”
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Live aware of the “family love” of God.