March 2009 - Ephesians 4:11- 13

At the beginning of the fifth chapter of Ephesians Paul invites us to “Be imitators of God.” Here in the fourth chapter he tells us that the body of Christ is being built up as we respond to our call to “full unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God—to maturity.” Knowledge here means to deepen our relationship with Christ. In his letter to the Corinthians he tells us we are holy and called to be holy: “To the holy ones…called to be holy” (1 Cor 1:2). Paul knew that we are already created in God’s image and likeness (Gn. 26-27). He also knew that we fall short in being the image of God (Rm. 3:23).
In the gospel of Matthew Jesus asks us to “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:8). “The Greek word Matthew uses is teleios, often translated as perfect. Paul uses the same term in first Corinthians where it is translated as “mature” (2:6) and “complete” (13:10). Mature implies “full growth. Is this what Jesus is implying? The Hebrew word for teleios is ta’am “to be complete, be duplicated, to be a twin.” Jesus is urging us to be a splitting image of the Father….God’s completeness far surpasses a human’s. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, however, Jesus is saying “Grow up! Go for it! Be all you can be!” We’ll never be as perfect as God but we can be complete” (Fr. Norm Langebrunner).
In Jesus Paul saw the fulfillment of the invitation: “Be holy as I am holy" (Leviticus 19:2). Paul remembered the promises God made through the prophets: “I will pour out my spirit” (Ezekiel 29:39; Zechariah 12:1). All of God’s promises find their yes, their fulfillment, in Jesus. God is faithful, good, true, beautiful, and brings all to life, Jesus reveals God’s love and what it means to be fully human. “Yes” has always been in Jesus (2 Cor 1:18-22). To become what God is calling us to become we live in the manner Jesus did. When we are faithful we reflect God’s glory. God has established, anointed, sealed us with and given us the Spirit in our hearts.
In Romans 5 Paul expresses this good news as the Spirit poured into our hearts. The nature of love is to spill over. The Spirit, according to Paul, is God within us (church) speaking the language God understands. Our very identity is the temple of the Spirit God dwells in.
“If Christ Himself is inside me and I inside him, the two of us are not separate individuals. This is where the doctrine of the Body of Christ begins, because we are all Christ Himself. Therefore, our neighbour is truly someone at our side. We are not two separated “I's”, but we are united in the “I” of Christ. In other words, Eucharistic and sacramental catechesis should really reach the depths of our existence, be an education in opening my existence in its most profound depths, so that we can become truly just. In this sense, it seems to me that we could all increase in our knowledge of the liturgy, not as something exotic, but as the heart of our being as Christians, which does not easily open itself to a distant person, but is precisely openness to the other side, to the world” Benedict XVI.
Paul says “We have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor 2:16). This is an empowerment of the Spirit. We can know the truth of ourselves and the truth of others in Jesus attitudes and way of being.
“Jesus, Way of holiness, make me your perfect imitator. Jesus Way, render me perfect as our Father in heaven. Jesus Truth, may I be light for the world. Jesus Life grant that I may live eternally in the joy of your love” (Blessed Alberione; Invocations to Jesus Master).

Lectio Divina

TRUTH Read - Ephesians 4:11-13. Blessed Alberione tells us that “Without Christification” there is no authentic proclamation. “Your own identity with Christ is the indispensible premise for being able to preach. The entire Pauline life and mission is an act of proclamation.” (Fr. Silvio Sassi).

WAY Meditate - The Vatican II document Lumen Gentium confirms our call to reflect God’s holiness. Through each of us the Church makes Christ present. The same Spirit who anointed Jesus has anointed us – we have been “Christed” or christened at baptism as priest, prophet, and shepherd-king. The word anointed (in Greek, Christ), appears six times in reference to Jesus in the New Testament In Luke 4:21 Jesus quotes scripture saying he is the awaited Christ: “God has anointed me…this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” In the letters of Paul the word anointed appears once and in reference to our anointing. “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts”(2 Cor. 1: 22).

LIFE Pray - Christening, also known as Baptism, literally means "to bring to Christ". Let us thank God for the gift of baptism and the indwelling Spirit of God.

LIVE Act - The first work of the Pauline and the first task of the Pauline Family, is to be an image of the Father in the Son, the image of the invisible God, firstborn of all creation (Col. 1:15) through the Spirit. This conformation to the Master is a response of love for love coming from the Father: “Those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Romans 8:5).

Jesus Master, we thank you for having made yourself our model. You left us examples of the highest perfection. You invite us to follow you on earth and in heaven. We contemplate you during your earthly life. We place ourselves in your school. Draw us to you. Fill all our powers with yourself. Spill your love into us. Live in us so that we may overflow with you and radiate you (Cf. Blessed James Alberione; Prayers).