Friday, October 27, 2017

Who Then

"Brothers and sisters:  I know that good does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh.  The willing is ready at hand, but doing the good is not.  For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want.  Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. So, then, I discover the principle that when I want to do right, evil is at hand.  

For I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self, but I see in my members another principle at war with the law of my mind, taking me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Miserable one that I am! Who will deliver me from this mortal body?  Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (First reading Rom 7:18-25a)

Ah yes, temptation.   The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.   How often have we heard this (or thought it)?  Paul certainly was tormented by his inability “to do right.” 

It seems he might be passing the buck and blaming that which makes him sin: “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it.”  “Who then?” we ask.  

Paul is big on sin. In Romans he says: “sin is in the world; sin rules people; people can serve sin; people can be enslaved to sin; people can die to sin; and people can be freed from sin.”   Much of what Paul says about sin can be tied to addictions.

Our rampant nation-wide opioid addiction gives evidence of the truth of Paul’s words.  This addiction is everywhere.  It rules people who serve the drugs they crave.  They are enslaved.   They die – in large numbers, young and old.

These addicted people can be freed, but only with the constant help of friends and family.   Even then, the “evil they do not want” lurks and is “at war with the law of their minds” – God’s law.  

As I noted above, Paul said, “Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it.”  Who then?   The answer is the demons within fed by opioids.

Who will deliver?   God through Jesus Christ our Lord, but not without a lot of help – and that’s us tending to those nailed to their crosses of addiction.   Pulling out those nails is no easy task, but we must try.

Deacon David Pierce

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