Thursday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time          

            Loving and devoted couples who really want children look forward to the birth of a child with great eagerness. They pray that the child will be born safely and that he will be healthy and sound. Actually, they have no idea of what the child will be like, whether it will be a boy or a girl, or what his future in life will be.

            God is not that way with us. St. Paul, in today’s first reading, from his Letter to the Ephesians, explains that God chose us in Christ before the world began, that he had a plan for us from all eternity. By his almighty power God formed and shaped us according to his plan. (Charles Miller) He did not have to wait to see how we would turn out. In particular, God determined that we would be like his Son. He made us his children, confident to call him Father.   

            And yet God did not use his almighty power to force us to be what he wanted to be. He gave to the whole human race the gift of freedom. That freedom allows a return of love which is not forced, but it also allows for sin.

            As part of the entire human family, we share in original sin which is like a birth defect. God does not, however, accept this defect as irreparable. He has confidently turned us over to a Divine Physician, his Son Jesus, to repair the damage. Charles Miller, in his commentary on this passage, says, “Jesus is indeed an unusual physician.” “He does not operate on us, leaving upon us the scars of his surgery.” “Rather, he can and does undergo the operation in our place.” “His death is the means to our recovery.” “He does not give us a blood transfusion from a donor. Rather it is through his own blood that our sins are forgiven.”

            Today’s passage from the Letter to the Ephesians is actually a hymn of praise. In this Mass we should make the sentiments of that hymn our own as we give praise to “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blemish before him.”

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