‘For I see no reason to be ashamed of the gospel; it is God’s power for the salvation of everyone who has faith – Jews first, but Greeks as well- for in it is revealed the saving justice of God: a justice based on faith and addressed to faith. As it says in scripture: Anyone who is upright through faith will live. The retribution of God from heaven is being revealed against the ungodliness and injustice of human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth. For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse: they knew God and yet they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid that they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an imitation, for the image of a mortal human being, or of birds, or animals, or crawling things. That is why God abandoned them in their inmost cravings to filthy practices of dishonouring their own bodies-because they exchanged God’s truth for a lie and have worshipped and served the creature instead of the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.’
Today St. Paul makes a very important statement. According to his words, ignorance of God is simply not justifiable, because God has clearly manifested Himself to man through the works of creation. However, man did not welcome the knowledge of God, to praise and thank Him. As a result, his reasoning became confused and his heart darkened.
This perspective teaches us that men are still accountable to God, even when they do not make room for Him in their lives and are burdened with errors. Perhaps we tend to say, “Well, this person never knew God, so he is not at fault.”
While it is not our task to measure the degree of a person’s guilt, it is important to realise that ungodliness in the world is a consequence of “human beings who in their injustice hold back the truth”. If this already applies to paganism, it is all the more serious in the case of apostasy, when people who had been enlightened by faith turn away from it.
The reading speaks of idolatry and establishes a link between idolatry and lust. Indeed, when our reasoning is clouded and our heart darkened, because we have turned away from God, then this spiritual impurity is often reflected also in the sphere of the senses, dishonouring the body. This reality can be clearly seen today. An unholy lifestyle is easily associated with ungodliness and idolatry. In these times of increasing apostasy in formerly Christian nations, perverse lifestyles are presented as normal, and, in extreme cases, even recommended as desirable.
Therefore, if concrete faith in God is increasingly fading in human society, a kind of neo-paganism will be accommodated and, in its pursuit, people will fall into the errors of the New Age, esotericism, magical practices, etc. As can easily be seen, this is often related to a disordered sexual life, so that the spiritual disorder is also reflected on the bodily level, as the Apostle describes it.
Conversely, it can be observed that when a person is converted to God, so that his reasoning becomes clearer and the confusion of the heart begins to be dissolved by the light of God, he will also make a serious effort to order his sexual life according to God’s will.
In evangelisation today, it must also be clearly announced that there is a Creator, because not infrequently environmental movements and other secular currents tend to divinise nature. In this way, however, they will not come to know the personal and loving Creator, who is our Father. If such a mentality were to spread even in our Church – of which, unfortunately, there are more and more indications – it would not only be a blindness; it would be an apostasy, with its destructive consequences.
This is not the way it should be!