On this 16th Sunday of Ordinary Time (the counted weeks of the liturgical year), the first Hebrew Scripture reading and the Gospel both speak about shepherds. So I expect we might hear homilies about this theme. But the second reading from Ephesians is especially significant for our Precious Blood family. This Epistle was written to various first century Christian communities. The writer was probably a Jewish convert to Christianity, closely associated with the teachings of the apostle Paul. This Epistle pictures the Church as a place of peace, love and unity brought about by the blood of Christ. The blood of Christ united Jewish converts and Gentile (non-Jewish) converts, bringing peace to both groups. Christ broke down the dividing wall of enmity through his flesh. How did this occur? Because “the law with its commandments and legal claims” was abolished through the new covenant, Paul taught, thus freeing the Jewish converts like himself from continuing to observe the many laws of Judaism, and freeing non-Jews to become Christians without first becoming Jews. Besides peace, the Church is also a place of love, in imitation of Christ’s sacrificial love, and unity — both in households or the local Church (5:21-6:9) and in the universal Church (2:15-16 & 4:7-16). Today we are all aware of the fractures in our Catholic church. It’s a good week to pray for our Church, that the power of the blood of Christ might work among us to break down the walls between us believers, and bring peace, love and unity to our 21st century Church — like it seemed to do so powerfully all those centuries ago.
– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia