Friday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Ephesians 1:11-14; Luke 12:1-7)
The Letter to the Ephesians has been significantly reevaluated over the last two centuries. Traditionally, it has been considered as written by St. Paul, to the church which he administered, while he was a prisoner in Rome in the years 61-63. Modern scholarship, however, favors other starting points. It sees the author as a disciple of Paul who penned a general instruction to many churches around the year 80. The likelihood that Paul was not the author should not worry us. In ancient days, like speeches today, disciples wrote letters in the name of their teachers.
The letter proclaims the mission of the universal church. It sees the Church as the announcer of God’s plan of salvation for the world in Christ. It further claims that in the Church, the body of Christ, all people are brought together in peace. Today’s passage shows how Jews, with whom the author identifies, and Greeks find common ground in Christ. Later in the letter the author names Christ as both peace and source of unity between the two peoples.
We might enjoy more reading Paul’s undisputed letters like Romans and I Corinthians. They contain wit and passion not found in Ephesians. However, we should not dismiss this letter as uncreative or as marginal. It not only has been authenticated by its inclusion in the Bible but also develops Paul’s theology. Without the Letter to the Ephesians we would not have as full a sense of our participating in the choir of heaven. We would have trouble seeing ourselves as giving praise to God in Christ.