Thursday, July 31, 2008

Eph 4, 29 No foul language come out of your mouths

(Eph 4, 29) No foul language come out of your mouths
[29] No foul language should come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for needed edification, that it may impart grace to those who hear.
(CCC 871) "The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through Baptism, have been constituted as the people of God; for this reason, since they have become sharers in Christ's priestly, prophetic, and royal office in their own manner, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each one" (CIC, can. 204 § 1; Cf. LG 31). (CCC 872) "In virtue of their rebirth in Christ there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality with regard to dignity and the activity whereby all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ in accord with each one's own condition and function" (CIC, Can. 208; cf. LG 32). (CCC 873) The very differences which the Lord has willed to put between the members of his body serve its unity and mission. For "in the Church there is diversity of ministry but unity of mission. To the apostles and their successors Christ has entrusted the office of teaching, sanctifying and governing in his name and by his power. But the laity are made to share in the priestly, prophetical, and kingly office of Christ; they have therefore, in the Church and in the world, their own assignment in the mission of the whole People of God" (AA 2). Finally, "from both groups [hierarchy and laity] there exist Christian faithful who are consecrated to God in their own special manner and serve the salvific mission of the Church through the profession of the evangelical counsels" (CIC, can. 207 § 2).

Eph 4, 28b Doing honest work with his (own) hands

(Eph 4, 28b) Doing honest work with his (own) hands
but rather labor, doing honest work with his (own) hands, so that he may have something to share with one in need.
(CCC 2412) In virtue of commutative justice, reparation for injustice committed requires the restitution of stolen goods to their owner: Jesus blesses Zacchaeus for his pledge: "If I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold" (Lk 19:8). Those who, directly or indirectly, have taken possession of the goods of another, are obliged to make restitution of them, or to return the equivalent in kind or in money, if the goods have disappeared, as well as the profit or advantages their owner would have legitimately obtained from them. Likewise, all who in some manner have taken part in a theft or who have knowingly benefited from it - for example, those who ordered it, assisted in it, or received the stolen goods - are obliged to make restitution in proportion to their responsibility and to their share of what was stolen. (CCC 2444) "The Church's love for the poor… is a part of her constant tradition." This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor (CA 57; cf. Lk 6:20-22, Mt 8:20; Mk 12:41-44). Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to "be able to give to those in need" (Eph 4:28). It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty (Cf. CA 57).

Eph 4, 28a The thief must no longer steal

(Eph 4, 28a) The thief must no longer steal
[28a] The thief must no longer steal,
(CCC 2408 The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another's property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing…) is to put at one's disposal and use the property of others (Cf. GS 69 § 1). (CCC 2409) Even if it does not contradict the provisions of civil law, any form of unjustly taking and keeping the property of others is against the seventh commandment: thus, deliberate retention of goods lent or of objects lost; business fraud; paying unjust wages; forcing up prices by taking advantage of the ignorance or hardship of another (Cf. Deut 25:13-16; 24:14-15; Jas 5:4; Am 8:4-6). The following are also morally illicit: speculation in which one contrives to manipulate the price of goods artificially in order to gain an advantage to the detriment of others; corruption in which one influences the judgment of those who must make decisions according to law; appropriation and use for private purposes of the common goods of an enterprise; work poorly done; tax evasion; forgery of checks and invoices; excessive expenses and waste. Willfully damaging private or public property is contrary to the moral law and requires reparation.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Eph 4, 26-27 Do not leave room for the devil

(Eph 4, 26-27) Do not leave room for the devil
[26] Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun set on your anger, [27] and do not leave room for the devil.
(CCC 2302) By recalling the commandment, "You shall not kill" (Mt 5:21), our Lord asked for peace of heart and denounced murderous anger and hatred as immoral. Anger is a desire for revenge. "To desire vengeance in order to do evil to someone who should be punished is illicit," but it is praiseworthy to impose restitution "to correct vices and maintain justice" (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 158, 1 ad 3). If anger reaches the point of a deliberate desire to kill or seriously wound a neighbor, it is gravely against charity; it is a mortal sin. The Lord says, "Everyone who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment" (Mt 5:22). (CCC 2303) Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm. "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven" (Mt 5:44-45).

Eph 4, 25 Putting away falsehood, speak the truth

(Eph 4, 25) Putting away falsehood, speak the truth
[25] Therefore, putting away falsehood, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, for we are members one of another.
(CCC 2482) "A lie consists in speaking a falsehood with the intention of deceiving" (St. Augustine, De mendacio 4, 5: PL 40: 491). The Lord denounces lying as the work of the devil: "You are of your father the devil,… there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (Jn 8:44). (CCC 2483) Lying is the most direct offense against the truth. To lie is to speak or act against the truth in order to lead someone into error. By injuring man's relation to truth and to his neighbor, a lie offends against the fundamental relation of man and of his word to the Lord. (CCC 2484) The gravity of a lie is measured against the nature of the truth it deforms, the circumstances, the intentions of the one who lies, and the harm suffered by its victims. If a lie in itself only constitutes a venial sin, it becomes mortal when it does grave injury to the virtues of justice and charity. (CCC 2485) By its very nature, lying is to be condemned. It is a profanation of speech, whereas the purpose of speech is to communicate known truth to others. The deliberate intention of leading a neighbor into error by saying things contrary to the truth constitutes a failure in justice and charity. The culpability is greater when the intention of deceiving entails the risk of deadly consequences for those who are led astray.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Eph 4, 20-24 Be renewed in the spirit of your minds

(Eph 4, 20-24) Be renewed in the spirit of your minds
[20] That is not how you learned Christ, [21] assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, [22] that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, [23] and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, [24] and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
(CCC 1695) "Justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (2 Cor 6:11), "sanctified … (and) called to be saints" (1 Cor 1:2), Christians have become the temple of the Holy Spirit (Cf. 1 Cor 6:19). This "Spirit of the Son" teaches them to pray to the Father (Cf. Gal 4:6) and, having become their life, prompts them to act so as to bear "the fruit of the Spirit" (Gal 5:22, 25) by charity in action. Healing the wounds of sin, the Holy Spirit renews us interiorly through a spiritual transformation (Cf. Eph 4:23). He enlightens and strengthens us to live as "children of light" through "all that is good and right and true" (Eph 5:8, 9). (CCC 1473) The forgiveness of sin and restoration of communion with God entail the remission of the eternal punishment of sin, but temporal punishment of sin remains. While patiently bearing sufferings and trials of all kinds and, when the day comes, serenely facing death, the Christian must strive to accept this temporal punishment of sin as a grace. He should strive by works of mercy and charity, as well as by prayer and the various practices of penance, to put off completely the "old man" and to put on the "new man" (Eph 4:22, 24).

Eph 4, 17-19 You must no longer live as the Gentiles do

(Eph 4, 17-19) You must no longer live as the Gentiles do
[17] So I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; [18] darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, [19] they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.
(CCC 2475) Christ's disciples have "put on the new man, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Eph 4:24). By "putting away falsehood," they are to "put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander" (Eph 4:25; 1 Pet 2:1). (CCC 2518) The sixth beatitude proclaims, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God" (Mt 5:8). "Pure in heart" refers to those who have attuned their intellects and wills to the demands of God's holiness, chiefly in three areas: charity (Cf. 1 Tim 4:3-9; 2 Tim 2:22); chastity or sexual rectitude (Cf. 1 Thess 4:7; Col 3:5; Eph 4:19); love of truth and orthodoxy of faith (Cf. Titus 1:15; 1 Tim 1:3-4; 2 Tim 2:23-26). There is a connection between purity of heart, of body, and of faith: The faithful must believe the articles of the Creed "so that by believing they may obey God, by obeying may live well, by living well may purify their hearts, and with pure hearts may understand what they believe" (St. Augustine, De fide et symbolo 10, 25: PL 40, 196).

Eph 4, 11-16 He gave some as apostles

(Eph 4, 11-16) He gave some as apostles
[11] And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, [12] to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, [13] until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, [14] so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. [15] Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, [16] from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love.
(CCC 1575) Christ himself chose the apostles and gave them a share in his mission and authority. Raised to the Father's right hand, he has not forsaken his flock but he keeps it under his constant protection through the apostles, and guides it still through these same pastors who continue his work today (Cf. Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I). Thus, it is Christ whose gift it is that some be apostles, others pastors. He continues to act through the bishops (Cf. LG 21; Eph 4:11). (CCC 794) Christ provides for our growth: to make us grow toward him, our head (Cf. Col 2:19; Eph 4:11-16), he provides in his Body, the Church, the gifts and assistance by which we help one another along the way of salvation. (CCC 2045) Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ (Cf. Eph 1:22), Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13; cf. LG 39).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Eph 4, 7-10 He ascended on high and took prisoners

(Eph 4, 7-10) He ascended on high and took prisoners
[7] But grace was given to each of us according to the measure of Christ's gift. [8] Therefore, it says: "He ascended on high and took prisoners captive; he gave gifts to men." [9] What does "he ascended" mean except that he also descended into the lower (regions) of the earth? [10] The one who descended is also the one who ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.
(CCC 456) With the Nicene Creed, we answer by confessing: "For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; by the power of the Holy Spirit, he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and was made man." (CCC 460) The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pt 1:4): "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 19, 1: PG 7/1, 939). "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God" (St. Athanasius, De inc. 54, 3: PG 25, 192B). "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57, 1-4). (CCC 665) Christ's Ascension marks the definitive entrance of Jesus' humanity into God's heavenly domain, whence he will come again (cf. Acts 1:11); this humanity in the meantime hides him from the eyes of men (cf. Col 3:3). (CCC 666) Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, precedes us into the Father's glorious kingdom so that we, the members of his Body, may live in the hope of one day being with him for ever. (CCC 667) Jesus Christ, having entered the sanctuary of heaven once and for all, intercedes constantly for us as the mediator who assures us of the permanent outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

Eph 4, 4-6 One Lord, one faith, one baptism

(Eph 4, 4-6) One Lord, one faith, one baptism
[4] one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; [5] one Lord, one faith, one baptism; [6] one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
(CCC 814) From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God's gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church's members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions, and ways of life. "Holding a rightful place in the communion of the Church there are also particular Churches that retain their own traditions" (LG 13 § 2). The great richness of such diversity is not opposed to the Church's unity. Yet sin and the burden of its consequences constantly threaten the gift of unity. And so the Apostle has to exhort Christians to "maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph 4:3). (CCC 866) The Church is one: she acknowledges one Lord, confesses one faith, is born of one Baptism, forms only one Body, is given life by the one Spirit, for the sake of one hope (cf. Eph 4:3-5), at whose fulfillment all divisions will be overcome. (CCC 173) "Indeed, the Church, though scattered throughout the whole world, even to the ends of the earth, having received the faith from the apostles and their disciples… guards [this preaching and faith] with care, as dwelling in but a single house, and similarly believes as if having but one soul and a single heart, and preaches, teaches and hands on this faith with a unanimous voice, as if possessing only one mouth" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 1, 10, 1-2: PG 7/1, 549-552). (CCC 174) "For though languages differ throughout the world, the content of the Tradition is one and the same. The Churches established in Germany have no other faith or Tradition, nor do those of the Iberians, nor those of the Celts, nor those of the East, of Egypt, of Libya, nor those established at the centre of the world…" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 1, 10, 1-2: PG 7/1, 552-553). The Church's message "is true and solid, in which one and the same way of salvation appears throughout the whole world" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 5, 20, 1: PG 7/2, 1177).

Eph 4, 1-3 Bearing with one another through love

Ephesians 4
(Eph 4, 1-3) Bearing with one another through love
[1] I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, [2] with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, [3] striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
(CCC 1971) To the Lord's Sermon on the Mount it is fitting to add the moral catechesis of the apostolic teachings, such as Romans 12-15, 1 Corinthians 12-13, Colossians 3-4, Ephesians 4-5, etc. This doctrine hands on the Lord's teaching with the authority of the apostles, particularly in the presentation of the virtues that flow from faith in Christ and are animated by charity, the principal gift of the Holy Spirit. "Let charity be genuine.... Love one another with brotherly affection.... Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality" (Rom 12:9-13). This catechesis also teaches us to deal with cases of conscience in the light of our relationship to Christ and to the Church (Cf. Rom 14; 1 Cor 5-10). (CCC 2790) Grammatically, "our" qualifies a reality common to more than one person. There is only one God, and he is recognized as Father by those who, through faith in his only Son, are reborn of him by water and the Spirit (Cf. 1 Jn 5:1; Jn 3:5). The Church is this new communion of God and men. United with the only Son, who has become "the firstborn among many brethren," she is in communion with one and the same Father in one and the same Holy Spirit (Rom 8:29; Cf. Eph 4:4-6). In praying "our" Father, each of the baptized is praying in this communion: "The company of those who believed were of one heart and soul" (Acts 4:32).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Eph 3, 20-21 To him be glory in the church and in Christ

(Eph 3, 20-21) To him be glory in the church and in Christ
[20] Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.
(CCC 796) The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist (Jn 3:29). The Lord referred to himself as the "bridegroom" (Mk 2:19). The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride "betrothed" to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him (Cf. Mt 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 1 Cor 6:15-17; 2 Cor 11:2). The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb (Cf. Rev 22:17; Eph 1:4; 5:27). "Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her" (Eph 5:25-26). He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body (Cf. Eph 5:29): This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many… whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? "The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church" (Eph 5:31-32). And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: "So they are no longer two, but one flesh" (Mt 19:6). They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union,… as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself "bride" (St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 74:4: PL 36, 948-949).

Eph 3, 17-19 You may be filled with the fullness of God

(Eph 3, 17-19) You may be filled with the fullness of God
[17] and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, [18] may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, [19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
(CCC 1073) The liturgy is also a participation in Christ's own prayer addressed to the Father in the Holy Spirit. In the liturgy, all Christian prayer finds its source and goal. Through the liturgy the inner man is rooted and grounded in "the great love with which [the Father] loved us" in his beloved Son (Eph 2:4; 3:16-17). It is the same "marvelous work of God" that is lived and internalized by all prayer, "at all times in the Spirit" (Eph 6:18). (CCC 1074) "The liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows" (SC 10). It is therefore the privileged place for catechizing the People of God. "Catechesis is intrinsically linked with the whole of liturgical and sacramental activity, for it is in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist, that Christ Jesus works in fullness for the transformation of men" (John Paul II, CT 23). (CCC 2714) Contemplative prayer is also the pre-eminently intense time of prayer. In it the Father strengthens our inner being with power through his Spirit "that Christ may dwell in [our] hearts through faith" and we may be "grounded in love" (Eph 3:16-17). (CCC 2718) Contemplative prayer is a union with the prayer of Christ insofar as it makes us participate in his mystery. The mystery of Christ is celebrated by the Church in the Eucharist, and the Holy Spirit makes it come alive in contemplative prayer so that our charity will manifest it in our acts.

Eph 3, 13-16 For this reason I kneel before the Father

(Eph 3, 13-16) For this reason I kneel before the Father
[13] So I ask you not to lose heart over my afflictions for you; this is your glory. [14] For this reason I kneel before the Father, [15] from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, [16] that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self,
(CCC 239) By calling God "Father", the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood (Cf. Isa 66:13; Ps 131:2), which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard (Cf. Ps 27:10; Eph 3:14; Isa 49:15): no one is father as God is Father. (CCC 2214) The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood (Cf. Eph 3:14) this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother (Cf. Prov 1:8; Tob 4:3-4) is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God's commandment (Cf. Ex 20:12). (CCC 1995) The Holy Spirit is the master of the interior life. By giving birth to the "inner man" (Cf. Rom 7:22; Eph 3:16), justification entails the sanctification of his whole being: Just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification.... But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life (Rom 6:19, 22).

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Eph 3, 8-12 To preach the inscrutable riches of Christ

(Eph 3, 8-12) To preach the inscrutable riches of Christ
[8] To me, the very least of all the holy ones, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the inscrutable riches of Christ, [9] and to bring to light [for all] what is the plan of the mystery hidden from ages past in God who created all things, [10] so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the principalities and authorities in the heavens. [11] This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord, [12] in whom we have boldness of speech and confidence of access through faith in him.
(CCC 218) In the course of its history, Israel was able to discover that God had only one reason to reveal himself to them, a single motive for choosing them from among all peoples as his special possession: his sheer gratuitous love (Cf. Deut 4:37; 7:8; 10:15). And thanks to the prophets Israel understood that it was again out of love that God never stopped saving them and pardoning their unfaithfulness and sins (Cf. Isa 43:1-7; Hos 2). (CCC 219) God's love for Israel is compared to a father's love for his son. His love for his people is stronger than a mother's for her children. God loves his people more than a bridegroom his beloved; his love will be victorious over even the worst infidelities and will extend to his most precious gift: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son"(Jn 3:16; cf. Hos 11:1; Isa 49:14-15; 62 :4-5; Ezek 16; Hos 11). (CCC 220) God's love is "everlasting" (Isa 54:8): "For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you" (Isa 54: 10; cf. 54:8). Through Jeremiah, God declares to his people, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you" (Jer 31:3). (CCC 221) But St. John goes even further when he affirms that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8, 16): God's very being is love. By sending his only Son and the Spirit of Love in the fullness of time, God has revealed his innermost secret (Cf. 1 Cor 2:7-16; Eph 3:9-12): God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange. (CCC 424) Moved by the grace of the Holy Spirit and drawn by the Father, we believe in Jesus and confess: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mt 16:16). On the rock of this faith confessed by St. Peter, Christ built his Church (Cf. Mt 16:18; St. Leo the Great, Sermo 4, 3: PL 54, 150-152; 51, 1: PL 54, 308-309; 62, 2: PL 54, 350-351; 83, 3: PL 54, 431-432).

Eph 3, 1-7 The Gentiles are members of the same body

Ephesians 3
(Eph 3, 1-7) The Gentiles are members of the same body
[1] Because of this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ (Jesus) for you Gentiles – [2] if, as I suppose, you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for your benefit, [3] (namely, that) the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly earlier. [4] When you read this you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, [5] which was not made known to human beings in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, [6] that the Gentiles are coheirs, members of the same body, and copartners in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. [7] Of this I became a minister by the gift of God's grace that was granted me in accord with the exercise of his power.
(CCC 1066) In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's "good pleasure" for all creation: the Father accomplishes the "mystery of his will" by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name (Eph 1:9). Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the "plan of the mystery" (Eph 3:9; cf. 3:4) and the patristic tradition will call the "economy of the Word incarnate" or the "economy of salvation." (CCC 1067) "The wonderful works of God among the people of the Old Testament were but a prelude to the work of Christ the Lord in redeeming mankind and giving perfect glory to God. He accomplished this work principally by the Paschal mystery of his blessed Passion, Resurrection from the dead, and glorious Ascension, whereby 'dying he destroyed our death, rising he restored our life.' For it was from the side of Christ as he slept the sleep of death upon the cross that there came forth 'the wondrous sacrament of the whole Church"'(SC 5 § 2; cf. St. Augustine, En. in Ps. 138, 2: PL 37, 1784-1785). For this reason, the Church celebrates in the liturgy above all the Paschal mystery by which Christ accomplished the work of our salvation.

Eph 2, 21-22 The whole structure is held together

(Eph 2, 21-22) The whole structure is held together
[21] Through him the whole structure is held together and grows into a temple sacred in the Lord; [22] in him you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.
(CCC 756) "Often, too, the Church is called the building of God. The Lord compared himself to the stone which the builders rejected, but which was made into the comer-stone. On this foundation the Church is built by the apostles and from it the Church receives solidity and unity. This edifice has many names to describe it: the house of God in which his family dwells; the household of God in the Spirit; the dwelling-place of God among men; and, especially, the holy temple. This temple, symbolized in places of worship built out of stone, is praised by the Fathers and, not without reason, is compared in the liturgy to the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. As living stones we here on earth are built into it. It is this holy city that is seen by John as it comes down out of heaven from God when the world is made anew, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband (LG 6; cf. 1 Cor 3:9; Mt 21:42 and parallels; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:7; Ps 118:22; 1 Cor 3:11; 1 Tim 3:15; Eph 2:19-22; Rev 21:3; 1 Pet 2:5; Rev 21:1-2). (CCC 797) "What the soul is to the human body, the Holy Spirit is to the Body of Christ, which is the Church" (St. Augustine, Sermo 267, 4: PL 38, 1231D). "To this Spirit of Christ, as an invisible principle, is to be ascribed the fact that all the parts of the body are joined one with the other and with their exalted head; for the whole Spirit of Christ is in the head, the whole Spirit is in the body, and the whole Spirit is in each of the members" (Pius XII, encyclical, Mystici Corporis: DS 3808). The Holy Spirit makes the Church "the temple of the living God" (2 Cor 6:16; cf. 1 Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:21): Indeed, it is to the Church herself that the "Gift of God" has been entrusted.... In it is in her that communion with Christ has been deposited, that is to say: the Holy Spirit, the pledge of incorruptibility, the strengthening of our faith and the ladder of our ascent to God.... For where the Church is, there also is God's Spirit; where God's Spirit is, there is the Church and every grace (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3, 24, 1: PG 7/1, 966).

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Eph 2, 19-20 You are members of the household of God

(Eph 2, 19-20) You are members of the household of God
[19] 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, [20] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.
(CCC 857) The Church is apostolic because she is founded on the apostles, in three ways: - she was and remains built on "the foundation of the Apostles" (Eph 2:20; Rev 21:14); the witnesses chosen and sent on mission by Christ himself (Cf. Mt 28:16-20; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor 9:1; 15:7-8; Gal 1:1; etc.); - with the help of the Spirit dwelling in her, the Church keeps and hands on the teaching (Cf. Acts 2:42), the "good deposit," the salutary words she has heard from the apostles (Cf. 2 Tim 1:13-14); - she continues to be taught, sanctified, and guided by the apostles until Christ's return, through their successors in pastoral office: the college of bishops, "assisted by priests, in union with the successor of Peter, the Church's supreme pastor" (AG 5): You are the eternal Shepherd who never leaves his flock untended. Through the apostles you watch over us and protect us always. You made them shepherds of the flock to share in the work of your Son… (Roman Missal, Preface of the Apostles I).

Eph 2, 14-18 He came and preached peace

(Eph 2, 14-18) He came and preached peace
[14] For he is our peace, he who made both one and broke down the dividing wall of enmity, through his flesh, [15] 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, [16] and might reconcile both with God, in one body, through the cross, putting that enmity to death by it. [17] He came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, [18] for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.
(CCC 2305) Earthly peace is the image and fruit of the peace of Christ, the messianic "Prince of Peace" (Isa 9:5). By the blood of his Cross, "in his own person he killed the hostility" (Eph 2:16 J.B.; cf. Col 1:20-22), he reconciled men with God and made his Church the sacrament of the unity of the human race and of its union with God. "He is our peace" (Eph 2:14). He has declared: "Blessed are the peacemakers" (Mt 5:9). (CCC 2304) Respect for and development of human life require peace. Peace is not merely the absence of war, and it is not limited to maintaining a balance of powers between adversaries. Peace cannot be attained on earth without safeguarding the goods of persons, free communication among men, respect for the dignity of persons and peoples, and the assiduous practice of fraternity. Peace is "the tranquillity of order" (St. Augustine, De civ. Dei, 19, 13, 1: PL 41, 640). Peace is the work of justice and the effect of charity (Cf. Isa 32:17; cf. GS 78 §§ 1-2).

Eph 2, 6-13 You have become near by the blood of Christ

(Eph 2, 6-13) You have become near by the blood of Christ
[6] raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus, [7] that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God; [9] it is not from works, so no one may boast. [10] For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them. [11] Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands, [12] 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. [13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.
(CCC 1003) United with Christ by Baptism, believers already truly participate in the heavenly life of the risen Christ, but this life remains "hidden with Christ in God" (Col 3:3; cf. Phil 3:20). The Father has already "raised us up with him, and made us sit with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus"(Eph 2:6). Nourished with his body in the Eucharist, we already belong to the Body of Christ. When we rise on the last day we "also will appear with him in glory" (Col 3:4). (CCC 2796) When the Church prays "our Father who art in heaven," she is professing that we are the People of God, already seated "with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" and "hidden with Christ in God" (Eph 2:6; Col 3:3); yet at the same time, "here indeed we groan, and long to put on our heavenly dwelling" (2 Cor 5:2; cf. Phil 3:20; Heb 13:14). [Christians] are in the flesh, but do not live according to the flesh. They spend their lives on earth, but are citizens of heaven (Ad Diognetum 5: PG 2, 1173).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Eph 2, 4-5 But God brought us to life with Christ

(Eph 2, 4-5) But God brought us to life with Christ
[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, [5] even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
(CCC 211) The divine name, "I Am" or "He Is", expresses God's faithfulness: despite the faithlessness of men's sin and the punishment it deserves, he keeps "steadfast love for thousands" (Ex 34:7). By going so far as to give up his own Son for us, God reveals that he is "rich in mercy" (Eph 2:4). By giving his life to free us from sin, Jesus reveals that he himself bears the divine name: "When you have lifted up the Son of man, then you will realize that "I AM"(Jn 8:28 (Gk.). (CCC 654 The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, "so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4; cf. 4:25). Justification consists in both victory over the death caused by sin and a new participation in grace (Cf. Eph 2:4-5; I Pt 1:3). It brings about filial adoption so that men become Christ's brethren, as Jesus himself called his disciples after his Resurrection: "Go and tell my brethren" (Mt 28:10; Jn 20:17). We are brethren not by nature, but by the gift of grace, because that adoptive filiation gains us a real share in the life of the only Son, which was fully revealed in his Resurrection.

Eph 2, 1-3 All of us once lived in the desires of our flesh

Ephesians 2
(Eph 2, 1-3) All of us once lived in the desires of our flesh
[1] You were dead in your transgressions and sins [2] in which you once lived following the age of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient. [3] All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh, following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
(CCC 2515) Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason. The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit" (Cf. Gal 5:16, 17, 24; Eph 2:3). Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins (Cf. Gen 3:11; Council of Trent: DS 1515).

Eph 1, 23 Which is his body

(Eph 1, 23) Which is his body
[23] which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way.
(CCC 830) The word "catholic" means "universal," in the sense of "according to the totality" or "in keeping with the whole." The Church is catholic in a double sense: First, the Church is catholic because Christ is present in her. "Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church" (St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8, 2: Apostolic Fathers, II/2, 311). In her subsists the fullness of Christ's body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him "the fullness of the means of salvation" (UR 3; AG 6; Eph 1:22-23) which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry in apostolic succession. The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost (Cf. AG 4) and will always be so until the day of the Parousia. (CCC 831) Secondly, the Church is catholic because she has been sent out by Christ on a mission to the whole of the human race (Cf. Mt 28:19): All men are called to belong to the new People of God. This People, therefore, while remaining one and only one, is to be spread throughout the whole world and to all ages in order that the design of God's will may be fulfilled: he made human nature one in the beginning and has decreed that all his children who were scattered should be finally gathered together as one.... The character of universality which adorns the People of God is a gift from the Lord himself whereby the Catholic Church ceaselessly and efficaciously seeks for the return of all humanity and all its goods, under Christ the Head in the unity of his Spirit (LG 13 §§ 1-2; cf. Jn 11:52). (CCC 2044) The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church's mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. "The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God" (AA 6 § 2).

Eph 1, 22 Gave him as head over all things to the church

(Eph 1, 22) Gave him as head over all things to the church
[22] And he put all things beneath his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,
(CCC 669) As Lord, Christ is also head of the Church, which is his Body (Cf. Eph 1:22). Taken up to heaven and glorified after he had thus fully accomplished his mission, Christ dwells on earth in his Church. The redemption is the source of the authority that Christ, by virtue of the Holy Spirit, exercises over the Church. "The kingdom of Christ (is) already present in mystery", "on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom" (LG 3; 5; cf. Eph 4:11-13). (CCC 753) In Scripture, we find a host of interrelated images and figures through which Revelation speaks of the inexhaustible mystery of the Church. The images taken from the Old Testament are variations on a profound theme: the People of God. In the New Testament, all these images find a new center because Christ has become the head of this people, which henceforth is his Body (Cf. Eph 1:22; Col 1:18; LG 9). Around this center are grouped images taken "from the life of the shepherd or from cultivation of the land, from the art of building or from family life and marriage" (LG 6).

Eph 1, 21 Far above every principality, authority, power

(Eph 1, 21) Far above every principality, authority, power
[21] far above every principality, authority, power, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this age but also in the one to come.
(CCC 449) By attributing to Jesus the divine title "Lord", the first confessions of the Church's faith affirm from the beginning that the power, honour and glory due to God the Father are due also to Jesus, because "he was in the form of God" (Cf. Acts 2:34 - 36; Rom 9:5; Titus 2:13; Rev 5:13; Phil 2:6), and the Father manifested the sovereignty of Jesus by raising him from the dead and exalting him into his glory (Cf. Rom 10:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:9-11). (CCC 450) From the beginning of Christian history, the assertion of Christ's lordship over the world and over history has implicitly recognized that man should not submit his personal freedom in an absolute manner to any earthly power, but only to God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Caesar is not "the Lord" (Cf. Rev 11:15; Mk 12:17; Acts 5:29). "The Church… believes that the key, the centre and the purpose of the whole of man's history is to be found in its Lord and Master" (GS 10 § 3; cf. 45 § 2).

Eph 1, 19-20 The surpassing greatness of his power

(Eph 1, 19-20) The surpassing greatness of his power
[19] and what is the surpassing greatness of his power for us who believe, in accord with the exercise of his great might, [20] which he worked in Christ, raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens,
(CCC 648) Christ's Resurrection is an object of faith in that it is a transcendent intervention of God himself in creation and history. In it the three divine persons act together as one, and manifest their own proper characteristics. The Father's power "raised up" Christ his Son and by doing so perfectly introduced his Son's humanity, including his body, into the Trinity. Jesus is conclusively revealed as "Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his Resurrection from the dead" (Rom 1 3-4; cf. Acts 2:24). St. Paul insists on the manifestation of God's power (Cf. Rom 6:4; 2 Cor 13:4; Phil 3:10; Eph 1:19-22; Heb 7:16). through the working of the Spirit who gave life to Jesus' dead humanity and called it to the glorious state of Lordship.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Eph 1, 18 May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened

(Eph 1, 18) May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened
[18] May the eyes of (your) hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call, what are the riches of glory in his inheritance among the holy ones,
(CCC 158) "Faith seeks understanding" (St. Anselm, Prosl. prooem.: PL 153, 225A): it is intrinsic to faith that a believer desires to know better the One in whom he has put his faith, and to understand better what He has revealed; a more penetrating knowledge will in turn call forth a greater faith, increasingly set afire by love. The grace of faith opens "the eyes of your hearts" (Eph 1:18) to a lively understanding of the contents of Revelation: that is, of the totality of God's plan and the mysteries of faith, of their connection with each other and with Christ, the centre of the revealed mystery. "The same Holy Spirit constantly perfects faith by his gifts, so that Revelation may be more and more profoundly understood" (DV 5). In the words of St. Augustine, "I believe, in order to understand; and I understand, the better to believe" (St. Augustine, Sermo 43, 7, 9: PL 38, 257-258).

Eph 1, 17 May give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation

(Eph 1, 17) May give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation
[17] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of him.
(CCC 216) God's truth is his wisdom, which commands the whole created order and governs the world (Cf. Wis 13:1-9). God, who alone made heaven and earth, can alone impart true knowledge of every created thing in relation to himself (Cf. Ps 115:15; Wis 7:17-21). (CCC 2500) The practice of goodness is accompanied by spontaneous spiritual joy and moral beauty. Likewise, truth carries with it the joy and splendor of spiritual beauty. Truth is beautiful in itself. Truth in words, the rational expression of the knowledge of created and uncreated reality, is necessary to man, who is endowed with intellect. But truth can also find other complementary forms of human expression, above all when it is a matter of evoking what is beyond words: the depths of the human heart, the exaltations of the soul, the mystery of God. Even before revealing himself to man in words of truth, God reveals himself to him through the universal language of creation, the work of his Word, of his wisdom: the order and harmony of the cosmos - which both the child and the scientist discover - "from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator," "for the author of beauty created them" (Wis 13:3, 5). [Wisdom] is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her. For she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness (Wis 7:25-26). For [wisdom] is more beautiful than the sun, and excels every constellation of the stars. Compared with the light she is found to be superior, for it is succeeded by the night, but against wisdom evil does not prevail (Wis 7:29-30). I became enamored of her beauty (Wis 8:2).

Eph 1, 15-16 Remembering you in my prayers

(Eph 1, 15-16) Remembering you in my prayers
[15] Therefore, I, too, hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for all the holy ones, [16] do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers,
(CCC 2632) Christian petition is centered on the desire and search for the Kingdom to come, in keeping with the teaching of Christ (Cf. Mt 6:10, 33; Lk 11:2, 13). There is a hierarchy in these petitions: we pray first for the Kingdom, then for what is necessary to welcome it and cooperate with its coming. This collaboration with the mission of Christ and the Holy Spirit, which is now that of the Church, is the object of the prayer of the apostolic community (Cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3). It is the prayer of Paul, the apostle par excellence, which reveals to us how the divine solicitude for all the churches ought to inspire Christian prayer (Cf. Rom 10:1; Eph 1:16-23; Phil 19-11; Col 1:3-6; 4:3-4, 12). By prayer every baptized person works for the coming of the Kingdom. (CCC 272) Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men" (1 Cor 1:24-25). It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe" (Eph 1:19-22).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Eph 1, 14 The first installment of our inheritance

(Eph 1, 14) The first installment of our inheritance
[14] which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God's possession, to the praise of his glory.
(CCC 1107) The Holy Spirit's transforming power in the liturgy hastens the coming of the kingdom and the consummation of the mystery of salvation. While we wait in hope he causes us really to anticipate the fullness of communion with the Holy Trinity. Sent by the Father who hears the epiclesis of the Church, the Spirit gives life to those who accept him and is, even now, the "guarantee" of their inheritance (Cf. Eph 1:14; 2 Cor 1:22). (CCC 1274) The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord ("Dominicus character") "for the day of redemption" (St. Augustine, Ep. 98, 5: PL 33, 362; Eph 4:30; cf. 1:13-14; 2 Cor 1:21-22). "Baptism indeed is the seal of eternal life" (St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 3: SCh 62, 32). The faithful Christian who has "kept the seal" until the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to depart this life "marked with the sign of faith" (Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 97), with his baptismal faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of faith - and in the hope of resurrection. (CCC 1296) Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father's seal (Cf. Jn 6:27). Christians are also marked with a seal: "It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4, 30). This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial (Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6).

Eph 1, 13 You have heard the word of truth

(Eph 1, 13) You have heard the word of truth
[13] In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit,
(CCC 698) The seal is a symbol close to that of anointing. "The Father has set his seal" on Christ and also seals us in him (Jn 6:27; cf. 2 Cor 1:22; Eph 1:13; 4:30). Because this seal indicates the indelible effect of the anointing with the Holy Spirit in the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders, the image of the seal (sphragis) has been used in some theological traditions to express the indelible "character" imprinted by these three unrepeatable sacraments. (CCC 706) Against all human hope, God promises descendants to Abraham, as the fruit of faith and of the power of the Holy Spirit (Cf. Gen 18:1-15; Lk 1:26-38. 54-55; Jn 1:12-13; Rom 4:16-21). In Abraham's progeny all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This progeny will be Christ himself (Cf. Gen 12:3; Gal 3:16), in whom the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will "gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad" (Cf. In 11:52). God commits himself by his own solemn oath to giving his beloved Son and "the promised Holy Spirit… [who is] the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it" (Eph 1:13-14; cf. Gen 22:17-19; Lk 1:73; Jn 3:16; Rom 8:32; Gal 3:14).

Eph 1, 11-12 We might exist for the praise of his glory

(Eph 1, 11-12) We might exist for the praise of his glory
[11] In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, [12] so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.
(CCC 1043) Sacred Scripture calls this mysterious renewal, which will transform humanity and the world, "new heavens and a new earth" (2 Pet 3:13; cf. Rev 21:1). It will be the definitive realization of God's plan to bring under a single head "all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth" (Eph 1:10). (CCC 2746) When "his hour" came, Jesus prayed to the Father (Cf. Jn 17). His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover "once for all" remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church. (CCC 2748) In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ (Cf. Eph 1:10): God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Eph 1, 10 To sum up all things in Christ

(Eph 1, 10) To sum up all things in Christ
[10] as a plan for the fullness of times, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth.
(CCC 2823) "He has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ… to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will" (Eph 1:9-11). We ask insistently for this loving plan to be fully realized on earth as it is already in heaven. (CCC 668) "Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living" (Rom 14:9). Christ's Ascension into heaven signifies his participation, in his humanity, in God's power and authority. Jesus Christ is Lord: he possesses all power in heaven and on earth. He is "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion", for the Father "has put all things under his feet" (Eph 1:20-22). Christ is Lord of the cosmos and of history. In him human history and indeed all creation are "set forth" and transcendently fulfilled (Eph 1:10; cf. 4:10; 1 Cor 15:24, 27-28). (CCC 772) It is in the Church that Christ fulfills and reveals his own mystery as the purpose of God's plan: "to unite all things in him" (Eph 1:10). St. Paul calls the nuptial union of Christ and the Church "a great mystery." Because she is united to Christ as to her bridegroom, she becomes a mystery in her turn (Eph 5:32; 3:9-11; 5:25-27). Contemplating this mystery in her, Paul exclaims: "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col 1:27).

Eph 1, 8-9 He made known to us the mystery of his will

(Eph 1, 8-9) He made known to us the mystery of his will
[8] that he lavished upon us. In all wisdom and insight, [9] he has made known to us the mystery of his will in accord with his favor that he set forth in him
(CCC 1066) In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's "good pleasure" for all creation: the Father accomplishes the "mystery of his will" by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name (Eph 1:9). Such is the mystery of Christ, revealed and fulfilled in history according to the wisely ordered plan that St. Paul calls the "plan of the mystery" (Eph 3:9; cf. 3:4) and the patristic tradition will call the "economy of the Word incarnate" or the "economy of salvation." (CCC 2063) The covenant and dialogue between God and man are also attested to by the fact that all the obligations are stated in the first person (“I am the Lord.") and addressed by God to another personal subject (“you"). In all God's commandments, the singular personal pronoun designates the recipient. God makes his will known to each person in particular, at the same time as he makes it known to the whole people: The Lord prescribed love towards God and taught justice towards neighbor, so that man would be neither unjust, nor unworthy of God. Thus, through the Decalogue, God prepared man to become his friend and to live in harmony with his neighbor.... The words of the Decalogue remain likewise for us Christians. Far from being abolished, they have received amplification and development from the fact of the coming of the Lord in the flesh (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres., 4, 16, 3-4: PG 7/1, 1017-1018).

Eph 1, 7 In him we have redemption by his blood

(Eph 1, 7) In him we have redemption by his blood
[7] In him we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace
(CCC 294) The glory of God consists in the realization of this manifestation and communication of his goodness, for which the world was created. God made us "to be his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace" (Eph 1:5-6), for "the glory of God is man fully alive; moreover man's life is the vision of God: if God's revelation through creation has already obtained life for all the beings that dwell on earth, how much more will the Word's manifestation of the Father obtain life for those who see God" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 20, 7: PG 7/1, 1037). The ultimate purpose of creation is that God "who is the creator of all things may at last become "all in all", thus simultaneously assuring his own glory and our beatitude" (AG 2; cf. 1 Cor 15:28).

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Eph 1, 4-6 For the praise of the glory of his grace

(Eph 1, 4-6) For the praise of the glory of his grace
[4] As he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love [5] he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, [6] for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved.
(CCC 52) God, who "dwells in unapproachable light", wants to communicate his own divine life to the men he freely created, in order to adopt them as his sons in his only-begotten Son (1 Tim 6:16, cf. Eph 1:4-5). By revealing himself God wishes to make them capable of responding to him, and of knowing him and of loving him far beyond their own natural capacity. (CCC 257) "O blessed light, O Trinity and first Unity!" (LH, Hymn for Evening Prayer). God is eternal blessedness, undying life, unfading light. God is love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God freely wills to communicate the glory of his blessed life. Such is the "plan of his loving kindness", conceived by the Father before the foundation of the world, in his beloved Son: "He destined us in love to be his sons" and "to be conformed to the image of his Son", through "the spirit of sonship" (Eph 1:4-5, 9; Rom 8:15, 29). This plan is a "grace [which] was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began", stemming immediately from Trinitarian love (2 Tim 1:9-10). It unfolds in the work of creation, the whole history of salvation after the fall, and the missions of the Son and the Spirit, which are continued in the mission of the Church (Cf. AG 2-9).

Eph 1, 3 In Christ with every spiritual blessing

(Eph 1, 3) In Christ with every spiritual blessing
[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens,
(CCC 1078) Blessing is a divine and life-giving action, the source of which is the Father; his blessing is both word and gift (eu-logia, bene-dictio). When applied to man, the word "blessing" means adoration and surrender to his Creator in thanksgiving. (CCC 1079) From the beginning until the end of time the whole of God's work is a blessing. From the liturgical poem of the first creation to the canticles of the heavenly Jerusalem, the inspired authors proclaim the plan of salvation as one vast divine blessing. (CCC 1080) From the very beginning God blessed all living beings, especially man and woman. The covenant with Noah and with all living things renewed this blessing of fruitfulness despite man's sin which had brought a curse on the ground. But with Abraham, the divine blessing entered into human history which was moving toward death, to redirect it toward life, toward its source. By the faith of "the father of all believers," who embraced the blessing, the history of salvation is inaugurated. (CCC 1081) The divine blessings were made manifest in astonishing and saving events: the birth of Isaac, the escape from Egypt (Passover and Exodus), the gift of the promised land, the election of David, the presence of God in the Temple, the purifying exile, and return of a "small remnant." the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms, interwoven in the liturgy of the Chosen People, recall these divine blessings and at the same time respond to them with blessings of praise and thanksgiving. (CCC 1082) In the Church's liturgy the divine blessing is fully revealed and communicated. The Father is acknowledged and adored as the source and the end of all the blessings of creation and salvation. In his Word who became incarnate, died, and rose for us, he fills us with his blessings. Through his Word, he pours into our hearts the Gift that contains all gifts, the Holy Spirit.

Eph 1, 1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

Letter to Ephesians
Ephesians 1
(Eph 1, 1-2) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus
[1] Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the holy ones who are (in Ephesus) faithful in Christ Jesus: [2] grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(CCC 2030) It is in the Church, in communion with all the baptized, that the Christian fulfills his vocation. From the Church he receives the Word of God containing the teachings of "the law of Christ". From the Church he receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the "way." From the Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary; he discerns it in the authentic witness of those who live it; he discovers it in the spiritual tradition and long history of the saints who have gone before him and whom the liturgy celebrates in the rhythms of the sanctoral cycle. (CCC 2045) Because they are members of the Body whose Head is Christ (Cf. Eph 1:22), Christians contribute to building up the Church by the constancy of their convictions and their moral lives. The Church increases, grows, and develops through the holiness of her faithful, until "we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph 4:13; cf. LG 39). (CCC 2046) By living with the mind of Christ, Christians hasten the coming of the Reign of God, "a kingdom of justice, love, and peace" (Roman Missal, Preface of Christ the King). They do not, for all that, abandon their earthly tasks; faithful to their master, they fulfill them with uprightness, patience, and love.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gal 6, 15-18 I bear the marks of Jesus on my body

(Gal 6, 15-18) I bear the marks of Jesus on my body
[15] For neither does circumcision mean anything, nor does uncircumcision, but only a new creation. [16] Peace and mercy be to all who follow this rule and to the Israel of God. [17] From now on, let no one make troubles for me; for I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. [18] The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.
(CCC 2028) "All Christians… are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity" (LG 40 § 2). "Christian perfection has but one limit, that of having none" (St. Gregory of Nyssa, De vita Mos.: PG 44, 300D). (CCC 2029) "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Mt 16:24).

Gal 6, 11-14 May I never boast except in the cross

(Gal 6, 11-14) May I never boast except in the cross
[11] See with what large letters I am writing to you in my own hand! [12] It is those who want to make a good appearance in the flesh who are trying to compel you to have yourselves circumcised, only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. [13] Not even those having themselves circumcised observe the law themselves; they only want you to be circumcised so that they may boast of your flesh. [14] But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
(CCC 2011) The charity of Christ is the source in us of all our merits before God. Grace, by uniting us to Christ in active love, ensures the supernatural quality of our acts and consequently their merit before God and before men. The saints have always had a lively awareness that their merits were pure grace. After earth's exile, I hope to go and enjoy you in the fatherland, but I do not want to lay up merits for heaven. I want to work for your love alone.... In the evening of this life, I shall appear before you with empty hands, for I do not ask you, Lord, to count my works. All our justice is blemished in your eyes. I wish, then, to be clothed in your own justice and to receive from your love the eternal possession of yourself [St. Therese of Lisieux, "Act of Offering" in Story of a Soul, tr. John Clarke (Washington Dc: ICS, 1981), 277]. (CCC 2014) Spiritual progress tends toward ever more intimate union with Christ. This union is called "mystical" because it participates in the mystery of Christ through the sacraments - "the holy mysteries" - and, in him, in the mystery of the Holy Trinity. God calls us all to this intimate union with him, even if the special graces or extraordinary signs of this mystical life are granted only to some for the sake of manifesting the gratuitous gift given to all.