Are You Convinced?

I myself am convinced about you, my brothers and sisters,
that you yourselves are full of goodness,
filled with all knowledge, and able to admonish one another.
But I have written to you rather boldly in some respects to remind you,
because of the grace given me by God
to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles
in performing the priestly service of the Gospel of God,
so that the offering up of the Gentiles may be acceptable,
sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.
For I will not dare to speak of anything
except what Christ has accomplished through me
to lead the Gentiles to obedience by word and deed,
by the power of signs and wonders,
by the power of the Spirit of God,
so that from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum
I have finished preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Thus I aspire to proclaim the Gospel
not where Christ has already been named,
so that I do not build on another’s foundation,
but as it is written:

Those who have never been told of him shall see,
and those who have never heard of him shall understand.

(Romans 15:14-21)

Scripture Study

Paul sees himself as apostle and benefactor in the priestly service of the gospel and so sketches plans for a mission in Spain, supported by those in Rome.

15:14 Full of goodness: the opposite of what humanity was filled with according to Rom 1:29–30.

15:19 Illyricum: Roman province northwest of Greece on the eastern shore of the Adriatic.

15:20 I aspire: Paul uses terminology customarily applied to philanthropists. Unlike some philanthropists of his time, Paul does not engage in cheap competition for public acclaim. This explanation of his missionary policy is to assure the Christians in Rome that he is also not planning to remain in that city and build on other people’s foundations (cf. 2 Cor 10:12–18). However, he does solicit their help in sending him on his way to Spain, which was considered the limit of the western world. Thus Paul’s addressees realize that evangelization may be understood in the broader sense of mission or, as in Rom 1:15, of instruction within the Christian community that derives from the gospel.

15:21 The citation from Is 52:15 concerns the Servant of the Lord. According to Isaiah, the Servant is first of all Israel, which was to bring the knowledge of Yahweh to the nations. In Rom 9–11 Paul showed how Israel failed in this mission. Therefore, he himself undertakes almost singlehandedly Israel’s responsibility as the Servant and moves as quickly as possible with the gospel through the Roman empire.

Scripture Reflection

I myself am convinced about you” Rom 15:14

Actually, in the single line of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, there is much to ponder the challenges my commitment to loving my neighbor as myself.

Am I ready to assume the best of others? Am I willing to give others the benefit of the doubt whenever I don’t understand their words or actions? Can I commit to seeing others as allies in God’s unfolding plan for my ultimate happiness and eternal good, even when they seem to oppose me or calls me to suffer? Am I convinced that those whose views and perspectives differ from mine are interpreting the world as they see it, just as I am also doing? Can I admit to myself that they may have an insight that I do not? That their motives, while they may be different from mine, may still be genuine and justified? Am I convinced?

– Claire J King in Living Faith

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.