The rest is commentary- Wednesday, 31st week in ordinary time – Romans 13:8-10

The rest is commentary- Wednesday, 31st week in ordinary time – Romans 13:8-10

We live in a world where debt is no longer a stranger to our lives. There was a time when the world only spent the money they had in their pockets, nothing more. The culture of credit and plastic money is presented as a fad to be envied and dreams are sold on ‘easy installments.’

I guess for those who build castles in the air the reality only sets in when the rent is due and that’s a bit too late for many young people who by then are sucked into a whirlpool of debt. St Paul understood the evil of debt, for this language of obligation defined the livelihood of Roman citizens in many spheres of life.

To the emperor they “owed” honour and allegiance; to their benefactors they owed money, possessions, honour. Slaves owed service and their very lives and wives owed submission, and so on. To owe someone meant you were in their debt and often these debts were like knots that one was forever tied up in.

For Paul, if a Christian is in debt then it should only be a debt of love that is owed to ones neighbour. Paul exhorts the Christians to live a life of love, one that respects natural law. One is not to kill, steal, commit adultery or covet; one is but to love.

Paul is reflecting the very teachings of Jesus. When Jesus gave us a ‘new commandment to love one another as He has loved us,’ He subjected in one master stroke, all of the law and the prophets to this great law and made them all a commentary of this one law.

It would do us well to remember that our lives will be judged not merely on how good we are but by the good we did.

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