Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

(Ephesians 3: 2-12; Luke 12:39-48)

“How odd of God,” wrote Ogden Nash, “to choose the Jews.” The Letter to the Ephesians today would turn this verse on end. “How odd of God,” it seems to say, “to include Gentiles.” It is odd because Gentiles have not spent forty years in the wilderness learning God’s ways. They have not been steeped in the Law which teaches that family and community must be placed above individual desires. A Jewish bioethicist provides an example of what is meant here. He has considered the possibility of assisted suicide if in old age he becomes a burden to his family. Then he reconsiders realizing that hastening his death would deprive his children of the opportunity to express their care and fulfill their responsibilities to their parents.

Too often Christians spurn Jewish faith as if it worshipped a hostile God. Yes, Jesus enhanced our appreciation of God by calling him “Father” and by revealing himself as Son. But we must remember that this, at least in part, came from his mastering Jewish traditions. When we can embrace Jews as our elder sisters and brothers in faith with much to teach us and turn to Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and people of other religious beliefs or no beliefs at all as if they were younger siblings in need of Christian example, then we approach realization of the mystery of Christ envisioned in the Letter to the Ephesians.