Paul on Paul – 3rd January 2021

The Second Sunday of Christmas; Year B
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-18

Blessed be God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessings of heaven in Christ. Before the world was made, he chose us, chose us in Christ, to be holy and spotless, and to live through love in his presence, determining that we should become his adopted sons, through Jesus Christ for his own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of his grace, his free gift to us in the Beloved

That will explain why I, having once heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love that you show towards all the saints, have never failed to remember you in my prayers and to thank God for you. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of him. May he enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope his call holds for you, what rich glories he has promised the saints will inherit.

All the readings this Sunday speak to Faith re-strengthening Faith – God’s Wisdom speaking to the people, or the beauty of John’s Prologue in the Gospel where the Word was with God and was God and was made flesh.

This passage from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is also about faith begetting Faith, but in a much simpler way. It speaks to the ways that our lives and actions can instil faith in others. Paul’s visits to Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey) with his friends to spread the Gospel and creates a Church that carried the faith into East Asia. He passes the faith to the Church.

That is often the way we think about faith – being “passed” from one to another. From our Grandparents, to our parents, to ourselves, and then to our children, and so on. If we were received into the Church later, then the faith is passed to us from RCIA, or friends or other parishioners. Perhaps even more, perhaps you are Godparent to a friend’s child, and you pass the faith on to them.

But Faith isn’t a plant that you cut a bit of yours off to pass a sapling to another. It isn’t a ‘down the chain process’. Yes, Paul taught the faith to the early Ephesian church – but here we see that the early Ephesian church is helping Paul in his faith to. He says that “Having once heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus, and the love you show towards all the saints, have never failed to remember you in my prayers and thank God for you”. By hearing about the growth of their faith, and seeing the good they have done, he is compelled to grow in his own faith and to pray for them.

At the moment, by necessity, many of us aren’t able to celebrate Mass in the way we usually would. We can’t share in the Sacraments they was we want, and aren’t able to fully participate in the grace they bestow upon us. So we must look at other ways our faith and belief can be nourished – and very often that is in the acts of others, even our children. That is the lesson we cant take from St. Paul this week – that often, other people, even those who are younger (either literally or spiritually) than us, can still provide us with great gifts.

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