Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Ephesians 4, 17-32

So this I say to you and attest to you in the Lord, do not go on living the empty-headed life that the gentiles live.

Intellectually they are in the dark, and they are estranged from the life of God, because of the ignorance which is the consequence of closed minds.

Their sense of right and wrong once dulled, they have abandoned all self-control and pursue to excess every kind of uncleanness.

Now that is hardly the way you have learnt Christ,

unless you failed to hear him properly when you were taught what the truth is in Jesus.

You were to put aside your old self, which belongs to your old way of life and is corrupted by following illusory desires.

Your mind was to be renewed in spirit

so that you could put on the New Man that has been created on God's principles, in the uprightness and holiness of the truth.

So from now on, there must be no more lies. Speak the truth to one another, since we are all parts of one another.

Even if you are angry, do not sin: never let the sun set on your anger

or else you will give the devil a foothold.

Anyone who was a thief must stop stealing; instead he should exert himself at some honest job with his own hands so that he may have something to share with those in need.

No foul word should ever cross your lips; let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners;

do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with his seal, ready for the day when we shall be set free.

Any bitterness or bad temper or anger or shouting or abuse must be far removed from you -- as must every kind of malice.

Be generous to one another, sympathetic, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Paul continues to urge the Christians to behave in a manner worthy of the Gospel they have received. He advises them "in the Lord." Most of all, he stresses the importance of not falling back into their past behaviour when, prior to becoming part of the community, the Ephesians were "alienated from the life of God." Such behaviour means to "live in the futility of one’s mind" or, in other words, to remain in the darkness of one’s own convictions without benefiting from the light of God. The result is ignorance and the hardening of the heart. "That is not," says Paul, "the way you learned from Christ!" The expression "to learn from Christ" tells us that Christian life consists in the imitation of Jesus, learning by listening both to the Gospel and to the teaching of the Community. For this reason, Paul adds: "For surely you have heard about him and were taught about him, as truth is in Jesus." Following Jesus calls for a deep change in the disciple’s life: you must "put away your old self," that is, the habits you had when you were far from God, living a life of sadness and failure, in order to "be renewed in the spirit" and "clothe yourself with the new self." If "to be renewed" entails a change of self, "to clothe oneself" with the new man means to welcome Christ in your heart and let yourself be transformed in his image. Paul warns to be aware of a grave behaviour of the old self: lying. He quotes the prophet Zechariah by saying, "Speak the truth to one another" (Zec 8:16) and applies this to the life of the community. We cannot lie "for we are members of one another." Perhaps due to past experience, Paul knows that lying corrupts the relationship with your brothers and sisters and pollutes the life of the community. Similarly, he warns not to linger in anger so that it will not overwhelm you: it must quickly be removed, "in a day’s time," otherwise we give room to the devil. Even larceny divides and corrupts communion. The thief is invited to work with his own hands to earn a living. Paul adds that it is not just a matter of not being a burden but also of working to help those in need. In the community, the criterion of what is good is dictated by the needs of our brothers and sisters. Paul does not neglect to warn against the power of the tongue. In his letter, James has developed this warning in its negative aspect: the tongue can hurt and it is necessary to tame it in the same way that horses are tamed with bridles (Jam 3:1-12). According to Paul, words must be constructive, create communion and "give grace to those who hear." All of this is possible if we let the Spirit of God, which is infused in our hearts, operate. This is why the apostle exhorts not to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God." The new life, which has the Spirit as its source, does not tolerate behaviour dominated by feelings of division and discord. For this reason, once again, Paul exhorts us to reject from one's heart all bitterness, disdain, wrath, shouting, slander, and malice. He exhorts, "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you." With these words he unites mercy and forgiveness as two dimensions in one love, God’s.