Chapter two ends with an image of the Church being God’s people. We are all members of the household of God (2:19). As Paul continues, we are reminded that he is writing to gentiles. The gentiles are any people that are not Jews. Only to the Jews was made the promise through Abraham and Moses. But Paul brings the good news to the gentiles and therefore the rest of the world. This includes us and our ancestors.

It is something that Paul himself has paid a price for too (3:2 &13). Paul has preached and exhausted himself in bringing the good news of the gospel to all who have ears to hear. In the same token, he has suffered much in physical abuse, being beaten and ridiculed by even his own brethren. Christ is not the only one who has suffered for our sakes. So much suffering through the centuries has been part of the graces we receive today. Each generation must hand down the graces of our God. God calls each of us to work not only for our own salvation, but for that of others’ salvation. We are all called to follow in the footsteps of Paul as well. His suffering was the cause of so many others coming to believe in Jesus. The suffering of Paul contributed to the salvation of many souls. So our sufferings have the potential of bringing souls to faith in Jesus. Our suffering, then, has the potential of helping others along their way to salvation.

The suffering we would endure is why we need to “draw near to Him” (12-13). There are many ways to come close to our Lord. We can read scripture daily and meditate on what we read using “Lectio Divina” as a way to meditate. I encourage you to look it up and try practicing this method of meditation. A person can also come to adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. One can also attend Mass during the week. Praying the rosary every day is also great for meditating on the Bible. Reading the catechism of the Catholic Church is also another great tool to use. It is good to meditate on what the Church teaches in the Catechism. You can also read your missal, or the words of the Mass, and meditate on that as well. Staying close to Jesus in these ways can be very helpful in keeping us strong in our faith.

Paul offers his own prayers for graces for us as well as for the gentiles of his day. Paul prays for the spiritual riches he himself has experienced (16). He prays for that inward strength that only the Holy Spirit can give. He prays for that wonderful gift of faith, that it would be strong. Paul intercedes for us, that charity in our hearts would be rooted in our very lives and the foundation of all our actions. In doing
so, we may have an understanding of God’s love for us (19). Imagine the person you love the most. God’s love for you is infinitely more. His love never tires. Paul’s desire for you is that you would be in the very love of God and have a sense of joy and peace in that very love. It is a love and joy that only God can give. 

When Paul is reminded of God’s love, he cannot help but praise His goodness for all of us. Paul desires us to have what he has experienced himself. When God shares such love to a person, that love transforms them. They start to even will the good for those who have done bad things to them. God’s love purifies us. It makes our hearts pure as He is pure Himself. This purity is a purity of intent. His purity strengthens us to always have pure goodness in our hearts for others. Love never uses the other as an object. Love does not demand. Love never wounds the other through sin. Love brings healing, peace, and makes offenses received light. Love does not look for a political angle to criticize. It does not look for a way to be offended. Everything changes so quickly when the love of God is near. I too pray that every person in our parishes could experience the love of God, and experience it more often.

Father Barr