Oct 15 2020 Reflection
Thursday 15 October 2020
First Reading: EPH 1:1-10
The Lord has made known his salvation.
PS 98:1, 2-3AB, 3CD-4, 5-6
Gospel Reading: LK 11:47-54
Today’s Note: Memorial of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church
The Lord said:
“Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets
whom your fathers killed.
Consequently, you bear witness and give consent
to the deeds of your ancestors,
for they killed them and you do the building.
Therefore, the wisdom of God said,
‘I will send to them prophets and Apostles;
some of them they will kill and persecute’
in order that this generation might be charged
with the blood of all the prophets
shed since the foundation of the world,
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
who died between the altar and the temple building.
Yes, I tell you, this generation will be charged with their blood!
Woe to you, scholars of the law!
You have taken away the key of knowledge.
You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter.”
When Jesus left, the scribes and Pharisees
began to act with hostility toward him
and to interrogate him about many things,
for they were plotting to catch him at something he might say.
In love he destined us for adoption. (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Adoption in the ancient Middle East didn’t work quite the way it does in modern, first-world countries. In Greco-Roman culture, legal adoptions were almost always the adoption of adults in order to secure an heir of one’s own choosing. Adoptees in Roman society were expected to respect and honor their new parents. They were given all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of natural-born sons.
Jewish adoptions were a little different and not only because it was mainly minors who were adopted. As a good, morally upright king provides for his weakest subjects, Jewish adoptions were meant to provide material support for orphans and to expand the family workforce, since children learned and helped with their family trade.
For both Romans and Jews, adoption was a life-altering, life-saving act. It was a change of fortune and a profound rescue from a bad future. So for Paul’s readers, both Jews and Greeks, Paul’s words about spiritual adoption would have had many different connotations.
Jews would have thought about God’s covenant with Israel that rescued them from slavery. They would have thought about how the Scriptures extolled the one who cares for widows and orphans. Greeks and Romans would have thought about the complete acceptance given to a legal adoptee—his past erased.
From every angle, Paul was trying to help his listeners understand that through Christ, we experience a whole new life. We don’t just receive the “inheritance” of eternal life; we get to live as forgiven, grace-filled sons and daughters right now. We gain a loving family in the followers of Christ around us. We get to participate in the “work” of our Father to fill the earth with his goodness. We are freed from the slavery of sin and death.
When someone is adopted, every corner of his life is affected—where he goes, how and with whom he eats, and what he can look forward to in the future. That’s your story. You are an adopted heir of all God’s promises. You are a new creation!
“Father, thank you for adopting me into your family. Help me to embrace this new life you have given to me.”