“The Law of Gradualness” - Homily for
the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2022
In our first
reading today from the Book of Wisdom we hear that God rebukes offenders little
in the New Testament, Saint Paul tells the Corinthians “I could not address you
as spiritual men, but as babes in Christ. I fed you with milk, not solid food;
for you were not ready for it”
This is what
is referred to in the Catholic Church as the “Law of Gradualness” – according
to which people should be encouraged to grow closer to God and His plan for our
lives in a step-by-step manner, rather than expecting a person to jump from an
initial conversion to perfection in a single step.
Paul 2nd taught that this “Law of Gradualness” is Catholic, but
Gradualism of the Law, (which wrongly suggests that there are different degrees
or forms of God’s law for different individuals and situations) is not Catholic
experienced the law of gradualness in my own life for a long time.
slowly, in His mercy and His infinite love for me, revealed to me things that I
did years ago that are sins, even grave sins, so that I can confess them and
seek His pardon in the Sacrament of Confession and thus be reconciled to God.
I used to
take the Lord’s name in vain a lot…but I have confessed that sin when God
revealed to me the gravity of that sin, and I have not taken the Lord’s name in
recently, the Lord revealed to me the grave sin of gossip and calumny and
slander, and so I have confessed those grave sins and have tried to move forward
without committing those sins.
positive side as well, God has slowly revealed to me things that I can be doing
to love God better, how to have a more radical care for the poor in my life,
how I can lay down my life for my parishioners better, and like Zacchaeus in
the Gospel today, I have realized that I too am able to give half of everything
I take in to the poor.
God loves us
more than we could ever imagine…and as we grow in love with God, he slowly, at
our pace, is drawing us closer to Himself.
Let us thank
God for the gentle ways, little by little, in which God is constantly drawing us
closer to Himself.