21Oct 21st October. Tuesday of Week 29

First Reading: Ephesians 2:12-22

(In Christ crucified, God has broken down the barrier between Jew and gentile, to form one new people.)

Remember that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace; in his flesh he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us. He has abolished the law with its commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new humanity in place of the two, thus making peace, and might reconcile both groups to God in one body through the cross, thus putting to death that hostility through it. So he came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling place for God.

Gospel: Luke 12:35-38

(Who are the servants who are wide awake at the master’s return?)

“Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

All meant to form one, big human family

By the time of writing his gospel, somewhere in the 80’s – and therefore half a century into Christian history, Luke and most other members of the church were no longer obsessed with the proximate return of Jesus in glory. Awaiting the Day of the Lord was no longer keeping them awake at night! As with the Our Father, Luke thinks of the daily presence of Jesus in our neighbour and in daily events. We must be waiting, always ready to open the door of our heart, and of our possessions, whenever Jesus comes knocking. Whatever happens anytime, anywhere, must be received as though Jesus were here in person.

On a small but significant point, Jesus overturns normal custom and sets us to think about our own approach to authority and service. Normally, when a master returned home, his servants waited on him. But now the reverse is to happen: The master will get the servants to sit at table, and proceed to wait on them! When we are focussed on faithfully doing our service to Christ in others, it is we ourselves who ultimately benefit. When we try to be of service to others, it is they who heap good gifts on us.

Ephesians has a great, mystical vision of God’s grace in our lives: Our lives, like Christ’s, are to be a sacred sacrifice. Our bodies are built into a “temple,.. a dwelling place for God in the Spirit.” Perhaps the greatest gift will come through our realization that our family extends to many brothers and sisters. “You are strangers and aliens no longer. You are fellow citizens of the saints and members of God’s household.”

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