This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church
Reading 1 Ephesians 2:12-22
Brothers and sisters:
You were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the Blood of Christ.
For he is our peace, he made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his Flesh, abolishing the law with its commandments and legal claims,
that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile both with God, in one Body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it.
He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the Apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone. Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
The magnificent vision of this writer is especially evident here. The fundamental division of the world for Jews was that between themselves and Gentiles. The writer envisages Christ, condemned by the Jewish Law and rejected as an alien by Jews, as breaking down the racial wall in his broken flesh. The two races are reconciled in the one body, that is, the crucified and risen body of Jesus, who has gone for all of us into the place of rejection, and offered us all God’s peace.
Yesterday Angela Merkel said that “multikulti” had not worked in Germany. “Guest workers” and native Germans had not, as hoped, formed one society.
The German church must ask if it has put into practice the vision of Ephesians which displays Christ as the focus of racial integration, whereby believers will be with Him in the place of rejection so that all may rediscover God’s peace. Certainly the British churches have only done this sporadically, so that brutal prejudice towards the strangers within our gates has grown and flourishes. This passage reminds us that inter-racial peace is not a peripheral matter but near the heart of the gospel.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’sreturn from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.
And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way,
blessed are those servants.”
Jesus urges disciples to be ready, prepared, watchful, so that they may be ready for Him, when He arrives. In the language of the first Christians, Jesus comes to the in the challenges of the community life of the church and in the crises that threaten its survival. The Master returns in the passionate disagreements of faith, and in the persecutions which are unleashed by civil and religious authorities on the disciples of Jesus. There was often no warning of such trials, and unready disciples could be swept away in violence or fear or mere ineffectiveness. Our weekly liturgies must train us in discipleship or they are empty observances. Even those who attempt to stay awake by daily bible blogging must know that if it doesn’t make them ready for the disturbing arrivals of the Lord, it’s an empty exercise.