-Given at the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel (UST-St. Paul) on October 25, 2020, 30th Sunday of OT
October 25, 2020
We hear repeatedly throughout the New Testament writings that Christians are to be "holy as our Father is holy" (1 Peter), "merciful as our Father is merciful" (Luke), and "perfect as our Father is perfect" (Matthew). But what is our heavenly Father like in these regards? St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that God's justice and mercy are exercised in creation by his prior commitment to sustain it in existence and govern it towards its end. This is not something God owes to creation, but rather to himself because of his prior commitment! Like him, Christians owe it to themselves to pursue justice and bestow mercy: towards all people, in recognition of the "image of God" in each; but "especially those of the family of faith", the Church, who share in God's "likeness" by grace. In this latter case, especially, the Christian disciple is able to "love neighbor as self", for "we are members individually of one another", so in seeking justice towards and bestowing mercy on fellow discipes the disciple is being "God-like", giving what is owed to the other by "holy selfishness"!