August 9, 2015 – Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The city of Ephesus was one of St. Paul’s major centers of operation. Although his letter to the Ephesians is not lengthy (it is about one-third the size of his letters to the Corinthians), many scholars consider it to be the most theologically sound of all his letters. One of Paul’s major purposes in writing it was to make clear to the Gentiles that they have been brought together with the Jews in the Body of Christ.
Unity is important, as much now as in the early Church. Furthermore, Ephesians is one of Paul’s most encouraging letters. In the interest of Christian unity Paul includes an important piece of advice in today’s Second Reading: “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.”
The idea of forgiveness is so important to us if we truly wish to be Christians and good stewards. Most of us understand that we need to be forgiven, but that does not make it any easier for us to forgive. Yet, that is at the basis of our ability to be unified and loving in the way Paul advises. When we learn to forgive, we take a large step toward holiness, as indicated by the famous quote from Alexander Pope, “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”