Paul’s great letter to the Romans was written in 58AD from Corinth as he prepared to go to Jerusalem with the collection from the younger churches for the needs of the mother church. It was a letter of introduction. Paul planned to move west and set up a new base for his missionary efforts. "I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome" (Romans: 1, 15). He wanted to prepare the Romans for his coming.
The section which we have to reflect on is theologically rich in meaning and expresses the heart of Paul’s conviction that the righteousness of God is ours by the free grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. We have this redemption because Christ Jesus shed his Blood in the sacrifice on the Cross.
And we certainly do not deserve it: "all have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God". No one has reason to boast. "A person is justified by faith".
For Paul faith is the way of utter trust and utter yieldedness. We have to take God at his word, and cast ourselves on his mercy and love. The important thing is, not what we can do for God, but what God has done for us. The whole matter is one of grace.
In our own hectic life we have to slow down and let God be God for us. Everything does not depend upon our efforts. When we realize this there is a freedom and peace of heart that makes the journey easy.
Fr. Michael Hoolahan, C.P. is on the staff of Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California.