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Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 6:12-18 & Luke 12:39-48

Scripture teaches that humanity has been infected by a tendency to wrongdoing. As a result individual lives, families and entire nations have been damaged by sin. What a bleak picture!

How can we possibly live a life free from sin? Saint Paul argues in today's first reading that though we inherited sin – and therefore condemnation – from our first parents, we are also heirs of righteousness and eternal life in Jesus.

How do we switch from being heirs of Adam to being heirs of Christ? By freely accepting Jesus and embracing baptism in His name! Filled with the Holy Spirit, we become a new creation and belong to Jesus now, no longer to sin.

This prospect of intimate and powerful communion with Christ is ours for the asking. Then, when we face the battle against sin and temptation, we can hold on in faith and stubbornly lay claim to our position in Christ. This is precisely the point Paul is making. His own experience taught him that neither a sense of moral duty nor the fear of punishment is enough to keep us on the path of righteousness.

We need union with Christ. Every day we need to recall that we have been buried with Jesus but rose with Him to a whole new life. Every day we need to believe that as we walk the Earth we actually can live for Jesus and walk with Him. As we renew our faith in this way, we will see sin’s hold over us dissolve, and we will be filled with a growing sense of gratitude and joy.

What happens when a parent's back is turned or a teacher leaves the classroom for a few minutes? They get up to all kinds of mischief! That was how the unreliable servant was behaving in today's Gospel story. He had been given a position of trust but when the master was absent he abused his position.

God gives each one of us a task He trusts us to get on with the minimum of supervision. We like to think of ourselves as adults but when we fail to do what God expects of us we behave like irresponsible children. It is sometimes said that the Church treats us like children, telling us what to do, as for example, when we were asked to abstain from meat on Fridays as a form of penance, remembering that was the day on which the Lord died for us. Then the Church decided we could choose our Friday penance - but how many Catholics failed to practice any kind of Friday penance and is that why the Church once again asked people to refrain from eating meat on Fridays?

The Church is our Mother and she knows how weak we, her children, can be. We would like to be faithful servants but sometimes we need a nudge in the right direction. That is why the Church lays down guidelines and rules for our own good, encouraging us to persevere with our tasks. Through her teaching and the Sacraments she constantly helps us to become spiritual adults who can be trusted to stick to our employment.

The Lord will come to ask us to give an account of our life and Jesus warns us that it will be at an hour we do not expect. So we must try to be ready for His coming.

Lord Jesus, may we never forget that You are always watching us, because we fool ourselves if we think You are not. If we are aware of this we will perform our tasks on Your behalf as well as we can, and be ready for whenever You ask us to give an account of our lives.

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