Scripture: Lectionary 479: Ephesians 4:32-5:8. Psalm 1:1-188.8.131.52. Luke 13:10-17:
Table virtues and table fellowship are the exhortation that Paul gives to us in this section of Ephesians. These virtues are relational ones that show us how to live and grow in Christian fellowship with each other. This is easier to do in small Christian communities and religious communities. However, most of belong to the larger diocesan community or our local parish. Here it is very difficult to carry out the exhortation because of the attachment to our family and our friends in the parish. We, for the most part, do not know the congregation and its members on a personal basis. Fortunately, the pastoral concerns of the parish board and its priests are trying to have small communities for faith-sharing and for religious instruction. This is a good way to follow Paul’s exhortation but it depends on cooperation on both the leaders and the people and a sharing in the responsibilities proper to a parish. It is not the priest’s kingdom. The entire people are part of a living parish that is concerned about the future and about children being raised in the faith. No small task. Paul’s listing of the virtues should especially be the concern of the leaders or the pastoral council and the priest.
We are exhorted to realize that these virtues are based on the great sacrificial love of Jesus who was selfless in his gift of healing and forgiveness. This is the foundation for what seems impossible. But nothing in this area of love for one another is impossible for God and for us when we believe in Jesus Christ who loved us all.
Psalm 1 fits in with Paul’s exhortation for it is a fundamental outline for virtuous living. The Psalm is brief, clear, and to the point which cannot be missed. The righteous and holy person is on the right path; the wicked are not. The righteous meditate at length on the law or instruction of God given in the Scriptures both in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) and in the Gospels and the rest of the New Testament. “The Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.”
Jesus shows us that the practice of forgiveness, of healing, and of assisting a needy neighbor are not opposed to the law of the Sabbath, but are at the right interpretation of the Sabbath. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.