The letter to the Ephesians was most likely written some 50 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. By this time, splits had developed among Christians, partly as the result of a major break among Jewish groups over the place of Jesus and also the emergence of Gentile churches. Struggles also arose at this time because of interference by the Roman emperors in the eastern Mediterranean. I mention this in order that we might understand some of the emphases and issues among the Ephesians and others.
For example, see the contrasts of old and new “walks” of life. Christians are to make a witness to Christ through good deeds in order to reach new converts. (Ephesians 5:8-9: “Live not as children of the dark but of the light, which leads to the good, the right and the true.”) The unity that belongs to the faith community is to result in new lives of love. The mission of the church is to reach others for Christ through the lives and witness of Christians.
Sometimes our Lenten focus directs us toward a narrow piety and devotion. This is challenged by the community emphases of the various Christian groups to which the letter to the Ephesians was sent.
Lord God, help us lead lives worthy of the calling to which we have been called. Amen.
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