October 13, 2011 - Thursday of the Twenty-Eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

“With the Lord there is mercy, and fullness of redemption.” Not some half-baked redemption. The fullness of redemption. Not some watered down redemption. The fullness of redemption. Not some just good enough, best that could be done, what more could you expect redemption. The fullness of redemption. With the Lord there is mercy and the fullness of redemption. Mercy for when we sin; the fullness of redemption so that we may sin no longer.

The fullness of redemption includes justification. God is going to justify us. To be justified is to be made good, to be made just. I am not just, and you are not just. We commit an injustice with every sin. We need to be justified. Martin Luther, when he started the Lutherans, infected Christianity with a false idea of justification. He said that God only learns to ignore our sins. He told his followers to “sin boldly but believe more boldly still.” Because of this, the word “justified” in English has come to mean something like: to have a good excuse, which is so different from what St. Paul meant.

We do not want to have a good excuse for sinning; we want to stop sinning. We want to be justified: not justified in sinning but justified away from sin. We believe that with the Lord there is mercy and the fullness of redemption. It is all well and good to believe, but faith that accomplishes nothing is dead. A person is justified by faith and not the works of the law. How are we justified by faith? Faith in God is more than just an acknowledgement of his existence. Faith is trusting that the promises of God will come true. God promises to fix what is broken in our souls. If we believe that we are broken and we believe that God can fix us, then he can get to work.

Justification is a process; it does not happen all at once, in a moment; it is not as if we can say a little prayer confessing our faith and suddenly be fully redeemed, but when we believe that with the Lord there is mercy and the fullness of redemption, everything changes. As things stand without God, people must either hate themselves or learn to love sin. This is the dilemma of the world. For us Christians, the situation is different, we can hate sin but love the person we can become by God’s grace, the person we will become if we let God fully redeem us.