Ephesians 1

Paul begins his letter introducing himself with a blessing, “…grace to you and peace from God our Father
and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul gives a blessing as Jesus always does for us. This blessing is an act of love
for all those who would read these very words and those who would hear them. This love did not come
from Paul, though. It comes from Jesus Himself. Paul brings the love of God to everyone as Jesus would
have him do: to “love one another as [Christ] has loved [us]” (Jn 13:34). Paul knows God’s love for he has
been forgiven much (Lk 7:47). God’s mercy is the greatest reason for recognizing the gift of God as he

Paul can’t hold back his gratitude for all that God has done for him. He starts blessing God and, in
particular, Jesus. He knows how God did not need him. It was a pure blessing that Jesus chose him. Jesus
first chose him out of darkness of sin and death and into a life of grace, virtue and to do His holy will.
God adopted us into His own family to love one another and rejoice in each other as true gifts from God.
Our hope is to be a blessing to each other by serving each other and leading each other in faith. How
good it is to be that living blessing for all who may need that blessing. How good it is to be known by the
good done rather than the evil perpetrated. It is great when we can utter the blessings of God. How
much greater it is when our very lives become a blessing to others as the life of Christ has been to ours.
Paul carries on, “Therefore, I too hearing of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love for the holy ones
do not cease giving thanks for you….” (v15). Can you imagine somebody saying such things about you?
Have you ever felt that way about somebody else? I can’t imagine thinking such thoughts about anybody
without the reality of God’s love for us. Jesus has shown us such goodness first. As we see the world
around us slip away from faith in God, we see even families and parents not loving as they once did. We
see the cruelty of people that seemed unimaginable ten years ago, yet it has become a cold reality as
our culture forsakes God and His ways. How Jesus truly does hold this world from its blazing wrath of its
own design.

A world without God would be cruel indeed. But the love and mercy of God brings life, love and peace.
We thank God He cares so much to do so for us each and every moment of our lives. We thank God that
we have people in our lives that we can thank God for. How many people in our lives have helped us in
our darkest moments of despair? How these people in our own lives have been a source of blessing.
These may be people who have been a blessing time and time again. They may be people who have
been a constant trial, but have come through when needed. The blessing may even come from someone
we don’t even like. Who is the one you are most grateful for?

Have you become a blessing to others? How often do you think of helping others and being a blessing to
them? Have you helped your parents with chores or even told them that you love them, or thanked
them for the sacrifices they have made for you? Are there other people in the pew that have been a
blessing to you? How have they blessed you? How can you be a blessing to them? Maybe a phone call or
letter? How has the parish community been a blessing to you? Not sure if some of you can count the
times. You may have to go back quite a few years. Community means so much with so many individuals
as personal blessings. How good it is when we can praise God for such good friends in faith. How good it
is when others can rejoice in our efforts to serve one another and love one another.

-Father Barr