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To: annalex

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)

From: Ephesians 2:19-22

Reconciliation of Jews and Gentiles in Christ (Continuation)
[19] So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, [20] built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, [21] in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; [22] in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


11-22. What is the significance of the calling of the Gentiles to the Church? Their previous situation, separated from Christ (vv. 11-12), has undergone radical change as a result of the Redemption Christ achieved on the Cross: that action has, on the one hand, brought the two peoples together (made peace between them: vv. 13-15) and, on the other, it has reconciled them with God, whose enemy each was (vv. 16- 18). The Redemption has given rise to the Church, which St Paul here describes as a holy temple built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets (vv. 19-22).

19. After describing the Redemption wrought by Christ and applied in the Church by the Holy Spirit, St Paul arrives at this conclusion: the Gentiles are no longer strangers; they belong to Christ's Church.

In the new Israel (the Church) privileges based on race, culture or nationality cease to apply. No baptized person, be he Jew or Greek, slave or free man, can be regarded as an outsider or stranger in the new people of God. All have proper citizenship papers. The Apostle explains this by using two images: The Church is the city of saints, and God's family or household (cf. 1 Tim 3:15). The two images are complementary: everyone has a family, and everyone is a citizen. In the family context, the members are united by paternal, filial and fraternal links, and love presides; family life has a special privacy. But as a citizen one is acting in a public capacity; public affairs and business must be conducted in a manner that is in keeping with laws designed to ensure that justice is respected. The Church has some of the characteristics of a family, and some of those of a polity (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on Eph, ad loc.").

The head of the Church is Christ himself, and in his Church are assembled the children of God, who are to live as brothers and sisters, united by love. Grace, faith, hope, charity and the action of the Holy Spirit are invisible realities which forge the links bringing together all the members of the Church, which is moreover something very visible, ruled by the successor of Peter and by the other bishops (cf. Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 8), and governed by laws--divine and ecclesiastical--which are to be obeyed.

20-22. To better explain the Church, the Apostle links the image of "the household of God" to that of God's temple and "building" (cf. 1 Cor. 3:9). Up to this he has spoken of the Church mainly as the body of Christ (v. 16). This image and that of a building are connected: our Lord said, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up" (Jn 2:19), and St John goes on to explain that he was speaking "of the temple of his body" (Jn 2:21). If the physical body of Christ is the true temple of God because Christ is the Son of God, the Church can also be seen as God's true temple, because it is the mystical body of Christ.

The Church is the temple of God. "Jesus Christ is, then, the foundation stone of the new temple of God. Rejected, discarded, left to one side, and done to death--then as now--the Father made him and continues to make him the firm immovable basis of the new work of building. This he does through his glorious resurrection [...].

"The new temple, Christ's body, which is spiritual and invisible, is constructed by each and every baptized person on the living cornerstone, Christ, to the degree that they adhere to him and 'grow' in him towards 'the fullness of Christ'. In this temple and by means of it, the 'dwelling place of God in the Spirit', he is glorified, by virtue of the 'holy priesthood' which offers spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet 2:5), and his kingdom is established in the world.

"The apex of the new temple reaches into heaven, while, on earth, Christ, the cornerstone, sustains it by means of the foundation he himself has chosen and laid down--'the apostles and prophets' (Eph 2:20) and their successors, that is, in the first place, the college of bishops and the 'rock', Peter (Mt 16: 18)" (John Paul II, "Homily at Orcasitas, Madrid", 3 November 1981).

Christ Jesus is the stone: this indicates his strength; and he is the cornerstone because in him the two peoples, Jews and Gentiles, are joined together (cf. St Thomas Aquinas, "Commentary on Eph, ad loc".). The Church is founded on this strong, stable bedrock; this cornerstone is what gives it its solidity. St Augustine expresses his faith in the perennial endurance of the Church in these words: "The Church will shake if its foundation shakes, but can Christ shake? As long as Christ does not shake, so shall the Church never weaken until the end of time" ("Enarrationes in Psalmos", 103).

Every faithful Christian, every living stone of this temple of God, must stay fixed on the solid cornerstone of Christ by cooperating in his or her own sanctification. The Church grows "when Christ is, after a manner, built into the souls of men and grows in them, and when souls also are built into Christ and grow in him; so that on this earth of our exile a great temple is daily in course of building, in which the divine majesty receives due and acceptable worship" (Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 6).

11 posted on 10/28/2021 7:13:16 AM PDT by fidelis (Ecce Crucem Domini! Fugite partes adversae! Vicit Leo de tribu Juda, Radix David! Alleluia! )
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To: fidelis
From: Luke 6:12-16

The Calling of the Apostles
[12] In these days He (Jesus) went out into the hills to pray; and all night He continued in prayer to God. [13] And when it was day, He called His disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom He named Apostles: [14] Simon, whom He named Peter, and Andrew, his brother, and James and John, and Philip and Bartholomew, [15] and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, [16] and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.


12-13. The evangelist writes with a certain formality when describing this important occasion on which Jesus chooses the Twelve, constituting them as the apostolic college: "The Lord Jesus, having prayed at length to the Father, called to Himself those whom He willed and appointed twelve to be with Him, whom He might send to preach the Kingdom of God (cf. Mark 2:13-19; Matthew 10:1-42). These Apostles (cf. Luke 6:13) He constituted in the form of a college or permanent assembly, at the head of which He placed Peter, chosen from among them (cf. John 21:15-17). He sent them first of all to the children of Israel and then to all peoples (cf. Romans 1:16), so that, sharing in His power, they might make all peoples His disciples and sanctify and govern them (cf. Matthew 28:16-20; and par.) and thus spread the Church and, administering it under the guidance of the Lord, shepherd it all days until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:20). They were fully confirmed in this mission on the day of Pentecost (cf. Act 2:1-26) [...]. Through their preaching the Gospel everywhere (cf. Mark 16:20), and through its being welcomed and received under the influence of the Holy Spirit by those who hear it, the Apostles gather together the universal Church, which the Lord founded upon the Apostles and built upon Blessed Peter their leader, the chief cornerstone being Christ Jesus Himself (cf. Revelation 21:14; Matthew 16:18; Ephesians 2:20). That divine mission, which was committed by Christ to the Apostles, is destined to last until the end of the world (cf. Matthew 28:20), since the Gospel, which they were charged to hand on, is, for the Church, the principle of all its life for all time. For that very reason the Apostles were careful to appoint successors in this hierarchically constituted society" (Vatican II, "Lumen Gentium", 19-20).

Before establishing the apostolic college, Jesus spent the whole night in prayer. He often made special prayer for His Church (Luke 9:18; John 17:1ff), thereby preparing His Apostles to be its pillars (cf. Galatians 2:9). As His Passion approaches, He will pray to the Father for Simon Peter, the head of the Church, and solemnly tell Peter that He has done so: "But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail" (Luke 22:32). Following Christ's example, the Church stipulates that on many occasions liturgical prayer should be offered for the pastors of the Church (the Pope, the bishops in general, and priests) asking God to give them grace to fulfill their ministry faithfully.

Christ is continually teaching us that we need to pray always (Luke 18:1). Here He shows us by His example that we should pray with special intensity at important moments in our lives. "`Pernoctans in oratione Dei. He spent the whole night in prayer to God.' So St. Luke tells of our Lord. And you? How often have you persevered like that? Well, then...." (St J. Escriva, "The Way", 104).

On the need for prayer and the qualities our prayer should have, see the notes on Matthew 6:5-6; 7:7-11; 14:22-23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16; 11:1-4; 22:41-42.

12. Since Jesus is God, why does He pray? There were two wills in Christ, one divine and one human (cf. "St. Pius X Catechism", 91), and although by virtue of His divine will He was omnipotent, His human will was not omnipotent. When we pray, what we do is make our will known to God; therefore Christ, who is like us in all things but sin (Hebrews 4:15), also had to pray in a human way (cf. "Summa Theologiae", III, q. 21, a. 1). Reflecting on Jesus at prayer, St. Ambrose comments: "The Lord prays not to ask things for Himself, but to intercede on my behalf; for although the Father has put everything into the hands of the Son, still the Son, in order to behave in accordance with His condition as man, considers it appropriate to implore the Father for our sake, for He is our Advocate [...]. A Master of obedience, by His example He instructs us concerning the precepts of virtue: `We have an advocate with the Father' (1 John 2:1)" ("Expositio Evangelii sec. Lucam, in loc.").

14-16. Jesus chose for Apostles very ordinary people, most of them poor and uneducated; apparently only Matthew and the brothers James and John had social positions of any consequence. But all of them gave up whatever they had, little or much as it was, and all of them, bar Judas, put their faith in the Lord, overcame their shortcomings and eventually proved faithful to grace and became saints, veritable pillars of the Church. We should not feel uneasy when we realize that we too are low in human qualities; what matters is being faithful to the grace God gives us.

Daily Word for Reflection—Navarre Bible Commentary

12 posted on 10/28/2021 7:13:30 AM PDT by fidelis (Ecce Crucem Domini! Fugite partes adversae! Vicit Leo de tribu Juda, Radix David! Alleluia! )
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