God loves us. He chose us to be his children. In today’s passage from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans we are told that because of the sacrifice of Christ we are no longer slaves but instead we have become the adopted children of God who are heirs of the kingdom. The language that Paul uses is important. Under the law of Moses, a natural child that committed serious sin against his parents could be shunned or disowned by his father. In contrast, an adopted child could not be shunned or disowned. We are each of us an adopted child of God.
Brothers and sisters,
we are not debtors to the flesh,
to live according to the flesh.
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die,
but if by the spirit you put to death the deeds of the body,
you will live.
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear,
but you received a spirit of adoption,
through which we cry, “Abba, Father!”
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit
that we are children of God,
and if children, then heirs,
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ,
if only we suffer with him
so that we may also be glorified with him.
Paul’s use of both “Abba” and “Father” was meant to remind the people of his time that both Jews and Gentiles become the adopted children of God when they accept Jesus as the Lord of their life.
Do we submit to the Lord in our lives, or do we just pay him lip service? Are we faithful to all of the teachings of his Church, or do we pick and choose from the a la carte menu? It is easy to call ourselves Catholics. It is hard to live like a Catholic should. Paul tells us that we are heirs with Christ if only we suffer with him.
Can we call God Abba, Father?