This blog follows the daily bible readings of the Catholic Church
Reading 1, Ephesians 4:1-6
1 I, the prisoner in the Lord, urge you therefore to lead a life worthy of the vocation to which you were called. 2 With all humility and gentleness, and with patience, support each other in love. 3 Take every care to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. 4 There is one Body, one Spirit, just as one hope is the goal of your calling by God. 5 There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 and one God and Father of all, over all, through all and within all.
The writer to the Ephesians has been emphasising the racial diversity of the church and the many dimensions of the love of God. Here he/she emphasises the other side of that inclusivity: the unity in which all are bound together. Ultimately this unity is the oneness of God, but because it is a unity of love rather than power, there is human freedom and responsibility in living it. To “to preserve the unity (Greek, enoteta) of the Spirit” is a particularly bold phrase. Of course Holy Spirit is one but it/he/she can be fractured by people who break the bond of peace. It is as if God needed the help of his children to maintain the unity of His Spirit! The oneness which is so gloriously asserted in verse 5 is not a monolithic imposition but rather a cooperative union. Humility, gentleness and patience are much needed in our world, and should be the mark of denominations and churches as well as of individual believers.
Gospel, Luke 12:54-59
54 He said again to the crowds, ‘When you see a cloud looming up in the west you say at once that rain is coming, and so it does.
55 And when the wind is from the south you say it’s going to be hot, and it is.
56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the face of the earth and the sky. How is it you do not know how to interpret these times?
57 ‘Why not judge for yourselves what is upright?
58 For example: when you are going to court with your opponent, make an effort to settle with him on the way, or he may drag you before the judge and the judge hand you over to the officer and the officer have you thrown into prison.
59 I tell you, you will not get out till you have paid the very last penny.’
Jesus refers to the human skill at interpreting the signs of the weather and urges a similar attention to the signs of the times. We don’t need supernatural instruction to know what’s likely to bring disaster on a society, or strength to a community. We can judge what sorts of action are good and bad. We’ve been given the gift of discrimination: we should use it.
Any sensible person could see that the amounts of debt taken on by ordinary people were unsustainable-indeed many of us said so- but most people set aside their common sense because experts told them they didn’t understand. Then we had a financial crisis, and all the clever people had to admit they’d been wrong. It’s the same in the moral sphere. Most sensible people knew that increasing rates of marital breakdown would terrible stress for children and increasing numbers of lonely older people, but smart people said it was freedom.
We are children of God, but we are adult children, trusted by God to think and judge and act. It’s a childish pretence that we don’t know what’s going on in the world.