Our readings these days from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians and Luke’s gospel speak of a people on a journey, longing to see God’s face. But first, there’s a mountain to climb before standing in God’s holy place. Not an easy climb. (Responsorial psalm, Friday)
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace;
one Body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:1-6)
Paul’s calling for patience, unity and peace from his flock in Ephesus, whose leader is now a prisoner. Most likely, they feel adrift. When the shepherd is struck the sheep scatter.
And so Paul promises the care of the Good Shepherd who cares for his flock from on high, whose care never ceases.
The one who descended is also the one who ascended
far above all the heavens,
that he might fill all things. And he gave some as Apostles, others as prophets,
others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers,
to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry,
for building up the Body of Christ,
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,
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.
Rather, living the truth in love,
we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,
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. (Ephesians 4:7-16)
A good teaching for the church today.
Building bonds peacefully poses challenges in discussions with those who hold opposite views. Giving a patient ear to hear another’s viewpoint is a sacrifical act. I long to be attentive but often I’m preparing my response.
As Paul advises, I need to do this “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit
through the bond of peace,”