This letter from Paul delves into the Church and a very deep understanding of how God established His
church here on earth. The Gospels deal with how Jesus gave the keys of the kingdom to Peter. Paul looks
at a deeper theology as to why Christ does this and God’s plan in the inter-dynamics of how the Church
is linked to all its members and how it is spiritually structured.
The Church is what Jesus came to found, not a book. This is very evident in this letter from Paul. You will
see, in this letter, very distinct teachings of the Catholic Church. The Catholic understanding fills in the
gaps of all the missing pieces of the puzzle in early Christianity and answers many questions that may
arise while reading the Bible. Taking a step back and getting the big picture of this letter, you can get an
understanding of the unity and even more specific, “oneness” of the Church, much like her founder:
namely God. This “oneness” is more than a group here and a group there that may agree or disagree on
important issues, but can still work together for a greater good.
Jesus did not plan even for a partial divide among His followers. He desires us to be one of mind and
heart. The unity He desires for us is actual. The history of the word “actual” means that is becomes an
act, which requires a body to act it out. So our unity is not merely spiritual and some how God makes it
happen even though we are not physically united under one church or under one church entity being
the universal, worldwide or otherwise known as, Catholic Church. The unity God gave the Church is in
mind, heart and body. In the mind we learn the one truth in Jesus Christ. In our hearts, we love the Lord
our God in return for the blessings we have already received from the cross through the sacraments,
sacramentals and devotions. These traditions help us to keep the faith and encourage each other. Then
in our bodies we help each other and those who are in need. It is how the body of the Church
cooperates with each other and can truly be free.
So the freedom of the Church depends on its members being actually united. If a soccer player has two
legs that always want to go in different directions, that hinders the soccer player’s freedom to play, let
alone play well. But when all the members are united in purpose, the full potential can be realized. How
good it is to see good athletes perform well. How much better it would be to see the Church perform
well. But when divisions happen…the old adage comes to mind: divide and conquer. The devil wins.
When an athlete has a member of their body not performing well, even if it is not a drastic loss of
performance, it can cost the entire team its very purpose – to win the game. So what seem to be minor
divisions in the Church can cost the lives of souls from heaven. Yet we have more than a game to win
and something much greater than a crown of leaves (1 Cor 9:25). We are to embrace the faith as to get
to heaven, but we are also to help others get there too.
Jesus came to earth to come and die on the cross for us. But He also came so that the grace of the cross
would not be lost through division. He came to establish one Church so that she could be free and all her
members may be free to their full potential.
As an added note for this letter, many notice this letter does not have the personal greetings or
conclusions, indicating that it was not written for a specific group. This letter was meant to be read to
many people in the general area of Ephesus. This is what is known to be an “encyclical” letter and is
commonly accepted by biblical scholars as such. These types of letters are still going on today. In fact,
Pope Francis wrote his last encyclical letter last year, Fratelli tutti. What Paul did in Biblical time, the
Church is still doing today. We are truly the Biblical Church; the Church Jesus founded.