Thursday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Lectionary: 470

In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will,
for the praise of the glory of his grace
that he granted us in the beloved.

Many married couples claim a song as "our song." They heard it on the radio together, or danced to it, or discovered upon meeting one another that both loved the same song. It brought them together and hearing it takes them back to that first meeting. Although she was not wearing a “blue velvet” dress at the time, and her hair was brown not "golden"; the mood and sentiment of the song bind them together.

Saint Paul started his letter to the Ephesians with a song. Like any work of art it speaks for itself and yet it begs for elaboration. Every phrase is rich with multiple meanings that have to be known, felt and understood by those who sing this song and those who hear it. One does not “comment” on the Ephesians 1 with justice; it deserves more honor than a writer or preacher can give it.

Ephesians 1 is neither sentimental nor romantic but something in the Christian heart resonates when we hear it. We have no idea of how it was sung in those halcyon days of Paul's writing, 
but we can assume it was a deep and powerful experience for everyone in the Church. 

No one present would want to be set apart or outside the congregation. They could not be bothered with the roast on the stove or the rain that might be pouring in an open window at home. Quite possibly despised by their neighbors these early Christians found a home like no place they'd ever known in Ephesians 1. We can assume they moved, flowed and danced with the words and music. The Mass was never meant to be watched by outsiders, especially not by critical skeptics.  

If the Jewish religion assures the nation of their election as God’s chosen people, the Christian Gospel invites the baptized to abide in the love of the Father and the Son.

Occasionally some Catholics experience this kind of emotional rapture during the liturgy. It might be an extraordinarily well prepared Christmas or Easter celebration, or the ordination of a new bishop. It's best when it happens among people who know one another and have shared the hard work of building a community. Conventions and retreats can only suggest it to a crowd of strangers. 

But our daily devotion recalls the moment and faith recaptures it. During our Mass Jesus receives the precious gift of our hearts from the Father, and returns the gift to the Father. We are the oblation he gives to God, as he is the oblation we offer to God. Ephesians 1 remembers the mystery. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.