Being Adopted Makes Us Part of the Family

Jeremiah R. Grosse
Holy Trinity Sunday (Year B)
Reproduced with Permission

This morning's passage from St. Paul's Letter to the Romans speaks to us of a relationship brought about by adoption. St. Paul tells that as children of God we did not receive the spirit of slavery which would cause us to fear. Elsewhere in the Scriptures, Jesus tells us that we are called to be His friends, not slaves. Adoption is much more than mere friendship.

A slave lives his or her live in servile fear. Fear that, at any moment, they can displease their master and suffer punishment or even be put to death.

This was the experience that the Hebrew slaves underwent while living under Pharaoh's rule. Fear that they would have their food reduced, their women defiled, and their men put to death. They were completely justified in their fear given the fact that they saw Pharaoh's men kill all of their male children under the age of three.

The African slaves had to deal with the same thing while working for their masters on the various Southern plantations. With no rights, no dignity, and being bought and sold like other property, these slaves were at the mercy of their owners who could kill them as one would exterminate a rat.

There are also numerous accounts of World War II concentration camp survivors explaining the subhuman conditions that they were forced to live in.

St. Paul tells that that we have received the spirit of adoption. According to Jewish law, if one is adopted into a Jewish family that person is as much a part of the family as any child who was born into the family naturally. If the adopted child is the oldest son he has all the rights of inheritance allowed under the law. As adopted children of God we can refer to Him by the most intimate of titles, namely, "Abba" which is the Hebrew equivalent of "daddy".

As adopted children we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

My father is a member of the tribe of Levi. He is also a kohain, which means that he is descended from the Temple priests. By virtue of being adopted into this Jewish family, I too am a kohain. My role as a Temple priest would not stem from anything else than the fact that I am a member of the tribe of Levi and that my father is a kohain.

My Catholic priesthood stems from a call which I received from God to serve His Church. It was not based upon my upbringing, my education, or anything else in my past life. It was a call which stemmed from my baptism and which I chose to accept.

We are all called to service. Our Lord Jesus has already won the victory over sin and death. Through our faithful service of God and neighbor we can gain entry into our Heavenly homeland which had been closed to us due to the transgressions of our first parents. We are not called to serve as God's slaves, but as His brothers and sisters. We offering loving service to God and our neighbor and, in doing so, give to others what we, ourselves, have received.

This is a tremendous source of joy and consolation for us. When our earthly journey is over we do not have to fear with regard to what the future holds for us, as others do. We have God's promise that if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him.

God our Father sent us His Son to save us from our sins, and They, in turn, send us the Holy Spirit to support and sustain us on our earthly pilgrimage. The reward of Eternal life with God will more than make up for any amount of suffering, no matter how great, we can ever experience in this life.