This morning’s first reading exemplifies something I said yesterday about St. Paul’s writing. Believe it or not, that reading was just two sentences long. So much was said in those two sentences that it literally could take hours to explain everything that he says. Not to worry; this will be a short summary.
Basically, St. Paul is imparting a blessing on the Christian community of Ephesus. He is asking God to bless them with hope, with knowledge of God, and with an appreciation of God’s power. As I was considering the form of this blessing, I realized that while the ordering may be different, St. Paul was still referring to the triune kind of blessing to which we are accustomed. First St. Paul asks for God to bless us with hope which springs up in us through the Holy Spirit. Next he asks for a blessing of the knowledge of God which was revealed to us in Jesus, the Son of God. Finally he asks that we have an appreciation of God’s power, the power which is most evident in the person of the Creator and Father. St. Paul asks a blessing of the Spirit, of the Son, and of the Father.
Though we do not usually invoke the Holy Spirit first in blessing, St. Paul’s ordering reminds us of the great comfort we have in the Holy Spirit. This was especially true of the early Christians communities which were beginning to experience the effects of the hostility of the Roman Empire. It is the presence of the Spirit which reminds them that Jesus has not left them alone, that he is still with us. It is the presence of the Spirit which gives us the words to proclaim our faith in God, and which also gives us the desire and the fortitude to turn away from any sin and seek the grace and mercy of God. Truly, God will never forsake us.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator