For the weekday Masses during Ordinary Time, the Scripture readings go through the various books of the Old and New Testaments, and the Gospel readings are sequential as well. Because of this, the readings do not often point to the same aspect of faith or discipleship or Christian life. That is the case with our two readings for today.
In our first reading from Ephesians, St. Paul speaks about the Cross of Christ, and how the “enmity” between Jew and Gentile was put “to death by it.” In our Gospel reading from Luke, Jesus speaks to His disciples about always being vigilant in following Him, waiting for Him to return.
I suppose it’s because my mind and heart have been focused lately on reconciliation in the midst of divisions and factions all over the world, but I found myself sort of combining the two readings in some way.
What if our vigilance in following Jesus demonstrated itself in being vigilant for opportunities for reconciliation? What if we were to contribute to people coming together as an alternative to participating in the divisions into which we so often fall? Could not this be an expression of love of God and neighbor?
Jesus Christ died for all, not just some, even though many people do not believe in what He did and what He continues to do for us. It is true that part of serving the Gospel is speaking the truth. But at the same time, we need not push away others because of our differences. We can witness to the power of God’s love in working with all people of Good faith to put aside all the enmities that still exist in our world.
May Jesus find us working for peace and justice when He returns.
Fr. Phil Paxton, C.P., is the local superior at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.