The readings are from the Catholic lectionary for fdaily mass while the headlines are chosen to kee my thinking real:
MIGRANTS EASY PREY FOR SLAVE TRADE
Ephesians 3 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
3 It is a consequence of this that I, Sha’ul, am a prisoner of the Messiah Yeshua on behalf of you Gentiles. 2 I assume that you have heard of the work God in his grace has given me to do for your benefit, 3 and that it was by a revelation that this secret plan was made known to me. I have already written about it briefly, 4 and if you read what I have written, you will grasp how I understand this secret plan concerning the Messiah. 5 In past generations it was not made known to mankind, as the Spirit is now revealing it to his emissaries and prophets, 6 that in union with the Messiah and through the Good News the Gentiles were to be joint heirs, a joint body and joint sharers with the Jews in what God has promised. 7 I became a servant of this Good News by God’s gracious gift, which he gave me through the operation of his power. 8 To me, the least important of all God’s holy people, was given this privilege of announcing to the Gentiles the Good News of the Messiah’s unfathomable riches, 9 and of letting everyone see how this secret plan is going to work out. This plan, kept hidden for ages by God, the Creator of everything, 10 is for the rulers and authorities in heaven to learn, through the existence of the Messianic Community, how many-sided God’s wisdom is. 11 This accords with God’s age-old purpose, accomplished in the Messiah Yeshua, our Lord. 12 In union with him, through his faithfulness, we have boldness and confidence when we approach God. 13 So I ask you not to be discouraged by the troubles I endure on your behalf — it is all for your glory.
Paul simply states what he’s already laid out: that God is treating humanityas one, through what Messiah Jesus has done. In his cross he has declared God’s acceptance of all people in their sins, and in his resurrection he has shown God’s power to lift people above evil and death. This “good news” , the announcement of how God is conquering evil by persuading all humanity to unite with Jesus, has been entrusted, Paul says, to him as the least important of God’s holy people – he has been an enemy of the good news by persecuting the Messianic Community-as a gift of God’s grace, his kindness. The unfathomable riches of which Paul speaks includes God’s humour in selecting the greatest enemy of his plan to become its most ardent messenger.
Paul says the good news must be taught to the “authorities and rulers in heaven”. Greek cosmology imagined that the powers that rule the world have a place in the sky and are somketimes identified with particular planets or stars. We would call these political, cultural and economic forces. (In 2014, The G7, Globalisation and Capitalism). The announcement of God’s universal love and the existence of the Messianic Community is intended to make clear to these powers that their time is up. God is making inroads into their territory.
This is the way God wages Jihad against the power of evil: not by violence but by the message of his/her universal love and the witness of the community that lives by it (not simply identical with the Christian Church!).
Jesus said to his disciples:
The servant who knows what his master wants, but has not even started to carry out those wishes, will receive very many strokes of the lash. The one who did not know, but deserves to be beaten for what he has done, will receive fewer strokes. When a man has had a great deal given him, a great deal will be demanded of him; when a man has had a great deal given him on trust, even more will be expected of him.’
The coming of the Son of Man (code phrase for the representative of God”s rule in the world”) is presented as a mystery by Jesus. It’s not necessarily something obvious, more like a thief sneaking into a house. Maybe Jesus meant that it was not one huge event but many small unexpected ones. If I know when I’m needed I can be on my best behaviour, but to be ready all the time, that’s a big ask. That exasperating needy woman, there, from whom I escaped ASAP, was that the celestial burgler, sneaking into my house?
Then Jesus imagines his household in the care of his servants. Those who’ve done their duty can expect reward, those who have gotten careless can expect punishment. It’s not clear what rewards and punishments he means but Jesus is clear they exist. We should interpret the “household” as standing for the church, the world, and the individual soul, all of which may be dwellings of God. Our word economy comes from the Greek word for household, oikos. Jesus had high standards of household management.
(for more on this oikos theme see emmock.com/oikos)