St. Paul’s writings comprise a large part of the New Testament. The Letter to the Romans is considered the most central and comprehensive of all of his writing. He was the most dynamic and peripatetic of all of the first interpreters of the Christian message. Whereas the Gospel writers were careful to relate theological meanings to the detailed events of the life of Jesus and his sayings, Paul took the opposite approach. He extracted the theological meaning of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and elaborated it into the foundational understanding of the Christian experience not only of the first century A.D. but for every Christian since then.
Part 8 completes this series with an explanation of St. Paul’s concern expressed in chapter 14 for the accommodation of those weak in faith by those strong in faith. Extending the overarching idea of the new aeon of faith in Christ versus the old aeon of religious structures based upon blood sacrifice, Gil Bailie describes how the inner stability that comes from obedience to the law (the old aeon) is gradually being replaced by the stability that comes from faith in Christ (the new aeon). The danger of leaving the old sacrificial structures behind before or without a strong faith in Christ, and the stability derived from it, is described as a failure similar to Cain’s sin. Examples from 1994 current events (Rwanda) and stories from the war in El Salvador are used as grim signs of the revelatory and corrosive effects of the Gospel on the old aeon’s sacrificial structures. The Czeslaw Milosz poem ‘Realism’ is read bringing a sacramental understanding to the relationship of the old and new aeon.
Note: the audio quality in sections of Part 8 is less than optimal, but we believe the content is understandable.
Listen to an excerpt: