Saints for the day: Isaac Jogues & Rene Goupil (1607-1646)
Ephesians 1:1-10 – Psalm 98 – Luke 11:47-54
“If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But with you is found forgiveness, O God Of Israel.” (Today’s Entrance Antiphon based on Psalm 130)
Today’s Liturgy has us leaving St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians to begin with his Letter to the Ephesians. It’s a short one. Only 6 chapters but it is one of my favorite epistles so I hope we’ll be able to comment on some of the very powerful guidelines that we’ll be hearing. Maybe I should give you a “homework assignment” and ask you to read through the letter. It’s not very long but jammed full of good advice. It is so full of hope for all of us and I can’t wait until we hear Paul’s prayer where he says, “This, then, is my prayer for you for your hidden self to grow strong… (Ephesians 3:14-21) We’ll hear that next Thursday. Then we’ll get his advice about “spiritual armor” (Ephesians 6:14-17) which I think is so important for us to practice that I’ll speak about it briefly here, today. This is where St. Paul gives a kind of “outline” in order for us to follow Jesus more perfectly: 1) stand your ground; 2) with truth buckled round your waist, and 3) integrity for a breastplate; 4) wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace; 5) and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. And then you must 6) accept salvation from God to be your helmet and 7) receive the word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword. I think it’s very important for us to keep this outline in the order in which St. Paul delivers it to us. Go back and ask yourself: what do I stand for? Do I have truth as a belt that holds me all together? Is integrity guarding my heart? Am I eager to spread the gospel of peace? Am I armed with the shield of faith? Have I accepted salvation from God to be my helmet? Then – and only when all the rest is in place in the proper order are we to pick up the word of God to use as a sword. Most of the time we pick up the Word of God before we have the other attributes in place and then wonder why our quoting of scripture hasn’t drawn many to follow Christ. So, there you have it from one of my favorite epistles. I think I have more passages underlined or high-lighted in St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians than in any other book of the Bible! Amen to that!