GOD CHOSE US IN CHRIST
"For He has done wondrous deeds...The Lord has made known His salvation" (Ps 98:1, 2a).
St. Paul's Letter to the Ephesians explains that God chose us in Christ Jesus before the world began - that He had a plan for us from all eternity. By His loving power God formed and shaped us according to His purpose. He made us His children, confident to call Him "Father". And yet God does not use His loving power to force us to be what He desires. Our heavenly Father gives the whole human race the gift of freedom, allowing a return of love which is not forced but freely given. At the same time, He gives us the freedom to sin. But when we do fail and fall into sin, He is there to help us find the way back to Him through mercy and forgiveness.
St. Paul greets the Ephesians by wishing them "grace and peace." He says these are gifts from God and Jesus Christ. God is our Father; Christ is our Savior. Paul goes on to praise God as the Father of Jesus Christ. He is our Lord, and not just any lord, but our Lord whom God has blessed us with "every spiritual blessing in heaven" (Eph 1:3). Wow! We sure get a lot of help from a loving God! It is pretty special to be a part of God's chosen people. Wouldn't you agree?
Paul adds to this list of blessings, encouraging us to take time to pray, ponder and appreciate them. Today's Responsorial Psalm can help us in our prayer and reflection: "For He has done wondrous deeds...The Lord has made known His salvation" (Ps 98:1, 2a). May our faith be strengthened with the grace of God, and our eyes open that we may realize the goodness of what God has done for us; the victory that is already here. For Jesus walked on this earth and spoke our human language, experienced human plight and proclaimed and effected human redemption; tasted death and restored life. May we make this all real in our own lives!
Jesus is the "Wisdom of God" and Source of everlasting life. Only the humble of heart - those who thirst for God and acknowledge His Word as true - can truly understand this wisdom. If God is at the center of our lives and we are willing to live in peace and forgiveness, then the world should see a preview of God's plans and hopes for all humanity.