Ephesians 5:8-21

As we continue chapter five, there is a convergence between marriage and the Church. Verse eight says, “There was a time when you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Well, then, live as children of light.” This is instruction on how to live the Christian life. We are all called by God to bring His light – goodness, justice and truth – to the world (v9). How these three bring light to any person.

Truth brings light to the mind. It helps a person see clearly what the proper and prudent action to take is. Truth brings peace. It is the foundation to the cardinal virtue of prudence. Truth informs the mind so that as prudence takes into consideration all the details in a decision, virtue may be actually experienced. “Be correct in your judgement” (10). Without prudence, there is no virtue. Without truth, prudence is impossible. Goodness is our experience of the virtue that we live out. It so happens to be a fruit of the Holy Spirit. It is also something we hold in us. With this goodness is purity of heart where people will the good for each other. There is a security that exists in relationships where goodness exists. A person may have doubts about food, work, money or health, but knowing the goodness in the other brings a comfort and faithfulness that cannot be found anywhere else. Justice then becomes a natural course of life when truth and goodness reign. To do evil intentionally would never be a thought in a mind of a person who has goodness in the heart. Then healing may begin and the trust two people have in each other is affirmed.

In the end, everything we do is exposed in the light. Paul says, “take no part in vain deeds done in darkness; rather, condemn them. It is shameful even to mention the things these people do in secret; but when such deeds are condemned, they are seen in the light” (v11-13). How embarrassing. In this world, the ends justify the means. The goal is the all important and how a person gets to their goal does not matter to the average person. Everything, every person is just a utility. There is no shame in many people today when they do evil. They just think the way the world thinks and go with what is popular at the time. That is like being on a small island surrounded by a mile of quicksand on all sides. As time goes, the sandy island gets eaten away by the quicksand and eventually you have no more island to stand on. If you can, it is better to do good things in secret (Mt 6:4), then when all things are exposed, the surprise can be positive and not lead to doom.

Paul continues, “Keep careful watch over your conduct” (v15). Instead of the sin the world offers, follow the way of goodness. It is most prudent to bring up the goodness in yourself, and in doing so, bring the goodness up in others. Verse 18 says, “…be filled with the Spirit.” It goes on to encourage joy in the heart by the psalms and holy songs. Joy brings strength to the soul and helps strengthen the relationships around you. Always have gratitude in the heart (v20). Thankfulness builds faith in God and in others. Many times, it is the source of our joy. How good God has been to us. He died on the cross for us and gave us the people we have in our lives. “Defer to one another out of reverence for Christ” (21).

All these things apply to our faith life in general, and in marriage.

Father Barr