Commentary on the Gospel of

Susan Tinley

“The gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.”  What a powerful statement Paul makes to the Romans. He goes on to reiterate this idea in other ways so that the Romans do not think the statement is mere hyperbole. God’s love, his mercy, and all of his gifts are forever ours. 

The message here is not what we see in our lives and interactions with each other. When someone disappoints us we might forgive him more than once or twice, but eventually we stop making any effort to maintain that relationship.  We sue individuals and businesses when we feel wronged.  We hold grudges in our personal relationships. We almost keep count of the times someone hurts us in some way whether intentional or not. We see the promises of love between two married people dissolve in divorce. We even see parents and children cut themselves off from each other because of misunderstandings and anger.


How do we make sense of Paul’s words when it is so far from our human experience? Even Paul says later in the letter;  “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways!”


We cannot make sense of the divine, but we can believe. We do not have to understand his ways to know that he is the source of infinite love for us -  not just those of us who read the words of Paul, but for each and every human he has created. We can be confident that he forgives our transgressions as well as those of all of His creation over and over again.


As I get discouraged with my stumbling through life’s journey, this message from Paul is a wonderful reminder that despite my falters and stumbles, God’s love is a constant. It is a gift that he does not expect to be repaid.  It can’t be!


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