Eph 1:1-10; Ps 98:1-6; Lk 11:47-54
Behold I am doing something new; sing a new song to the LORD. Sing like you like to sing; sing like you have never before sung. The LORD Our God has done wondrous deeds for us; his right hand has won the victory, he has bared his holy arm. These great and wondrous things have not been done in secret; the LORD has made his salvation known; in the sight of the nations he has revealed his justice. Though we have not remembered, the LORD has remembered his kindness and his faithfulness toward the house of Israel. Though we have done evil in secret, all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Let our joy abound. May our joy be contagious. May all the ends of the earth break into song and join in our jubilation. Let every people and each culture use indigenous instruments to make a joyful noise to the glory of His Name. Even trumpets and horns will cease playing for battle and be heard in the courts of the house of the King, the Lord God Almighty. Universal praise will resound because universal salvation has been made known. Such is the joyful task of all who have received grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the joyful duty of all who have heard the witness of the Apostle of Jesus Christ, Saint Paul. This is the key to human joy and universal unity that our Lord Jesus Christ proclaims in today’s gospel. Indeed, Christ himself is that key and we are to enter in with him and encourage all our brothers and sisters to come in and enjoy the salvation He brings from the Father and in the Holy Spirit.
Saint Paul does not hold back. He praises and blesses the Lord Jesus Christ, the universal savior. He comes to rescue the Ephesians and all the Gentiles. Blessed is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. Indeed, the LORD has chosen us before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. We are to be holy as our Father in heaven is holy. In love he destined us for adoption to himself though Jesus Christ, he only begotten Son. In accord with his love and favor, we have been made for the praise of his glory. He has granted us his grace and mercy in the Lord Jesus, his Beloved Son. We must behold him and listen to him for he brings us the truth that sets us free from sin and evil. The Crucified One has redeemed us by his Blood. He has poured himself out completely upon the altar of the cross for the forgiveness of our transgressions, in accord with the riches of his grace. This flood of mercy has been lavished upon us from the Cross of Christ. In all wisdom and insight, the Lord Jesus has made know to us the mystery of the Father’s will. The foolishness of the Cross is greater than all human wisdom. The weakness of the Cross is stronger than all human strength. This is his plan and purpose set forth in the fullness of time, to sum up all things in Christ, in heaven and on earth. Nothing here or above here is left untouched by the pierced hand of the Lord Christ; everything has been redeemed and made holy in the sight of God Most High. For this glory we have been made, and in this grace we live and move and have our being. Such is true human dignity, to live for the praise of his grace and glory. How can we stop from singing? How can we not sing the new song of praise on the lips and in the hearts of Saint Paul and all the saints in Ephesus?
It’s always easier to silence the prophets, rather that listen and be converted. It’s always easier to build memorials to the prophets, rather than learn from them and have our stony hearts broken open. We too are guilty of giving lip service to the gospel, rather than be silenced by its demands. We too raise our church songs of praise, rather than take these words to heart and live the good news they proclaim. From the foundation of the covenant, we join our ancestors in rejecting the prophets and the Apostles. We would rather shed their blood between the altar and the temple building, rather than surrender to the truth they proclaim. Their teachings hold the wisdom that unlocks the door of heaven and the gates of the Kingdom of God. The Lord Jesus dares to speak such severe judgment to the religious authorities of his own day. The Lord Jesus continues to challenge religious authorities of our own day. Indeed, this is the duty of everyone baptized into Christ. We too must stand up and speak the truth, in season and out of season, when people want to hear it and when they do not want to listen. We too will be treated with hostility. Those we challenge will interrogate us about many things. Indeed, they plot to catch us in something we might say. When our life is hidden with Christ in God, we can proclaim the wisdom of Christ and his cross in every generation, until he returns in glory—the very glory for which we were made to praise and proclaim.