Titus 2.1-8,11-14; Psalm 36; Luke 17.7-10
The second paragraph of today’s first reading may strike a familiar chord, for it is the epistle reading at the Midnight Mass of Christmas. The Incarnation is referred to as the ‘revelation of God’s grace’, making salvation available to the whole human race [cf Luke 2.14] and calling all people to make an ethical response, that is, a practical, lifestyle reaction to what God has done for us.
This good news which is made manifest to all is the key to the New Testament. The Gospel is bad news before it can be good: it declares our universal need for God [I Corinthians 15.22], our separation from him [Romans 6.13], before proclaiming God’s answer, his action in reconciling us to Him. [II Corinthians 5.17-18] Even our good deeds cannot win God’s favour. Our salvation is entirely the work of God, who has determined to bring not simply one race or nation to him but has reconciled himself to the whole world.
This extraordinary grace is a spur to us to live lives attuned to God and to God’s purposes. He has reconciled us; and at the same time he has given us the message of reconciliation to share with others. Our lifestyles should witness not to our accomplishments but to God’s Spirit alive within us.