Daily Reflection – Jul 22, 2018
Sunday 21 July 2018
First Reading: JER 23:1-6
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.
PS 23:1-3, 3-4, 5, 6
Second Reading: EPH 2:13-18
Gospel Reading: MK 6:7-13
Today’s Note: Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The apostles gathered together with Jesus
and reported all they had done and taught.
He said to them,
“Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
People were coming and going in great numbers,
and they had no opportunity even to eat.
So they went off in the boat by themselves to a deserted place.
People saw them leaving and many came to know about it.
They hastened there on foot from all the towns
and arrived at the place before them.
When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd,
his heart was moved with pity for them,
for they were like sheep without a shepherd;
and he began to teach them many things.
He . . . broke down the dividing wall of enmity. (Ephesians 2:14)
In almost poetic language, St. Paul invites the Ephesians to marvel at the unity they are experiencing. Many of them were Gentiles, people who looked down on the Jews almost as much as the Jews looked down on them. And yet here they were worshipping Jesus—alongside of Jewish brothers and sisters! Through Christ, the centuries-old wall dividing them had been broken down, leaving only a bond of love.
But this wasn’t the only time when Jesus brought Jews and Gentiles together. Probably the most important one happened about thirty years earlier, on the first Good Friday. That’s when “Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,” overcame their differences . . . so that they could put Jesus to death (Acts 4:27). Of course, not everyone was in on the plot, but many were united in their hatred of Jesus.
Isn’t it amazing how Jesus can take something horrible and make it a source of blessing? The devil had created a false and feeble unity in order to eliminate Jesus, but his plan backfired. This mock unity brought about the true unity that the Ephesians—and Christians everywhere else—were now enjoying. Where once there was Gentile versus Jew, slave versus free, and woman versus man, now there were only brothers and sisters witnessing to the Spirit’s power to heal ancient divisions.
If Jesus can overcome centuries of division between Jews and Gentiles, surely he can heal the divisions in our lives. It may not happen overnight or in the way we expect, but it can happen—especially if we work toward it ourselves. So take one relationship today, whether you need to offer forgiveness, let go of resentment, or ask for forgiveness, and see what you can do to break down the walls. It won’t happen overnight—just as it took time for the early Church. But if you persevere, it will happen.
“Come, Lord, and heal every division and wounded relationship.”