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Paul’s Prayer

Submitted by on Thursday, 23 October 2008No Comment
  • Reading I: Ephesians 3:14-21
  • Resp. Psalm:  Psalm 33:1-2,18-19
  • Gospel Reading:  Luke 12:49-53



Paul prays for strength to be granted the Ephesians.  It is the strength that comes from the indwelling of Christ through faith and the Holy Spirit.  It is strength that helps the Christian know and comprehend the love of Christ and be filled with God’s fulness.

The strength that Paul asks for is in keeping with the fact of the Christians’ status:  much is demanded from them by their new way of being.  The moral section of the letter follows after this (Ephesians 4;1-6:19).  In fact, towards the end of the letter, Paul writes:

Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground. So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace. In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (!Ephesians (NAB) 6:13-17)

Strength (the Fortitude of Stoic moral virtues) is needed because the Christian will be engaged in a combat that is spiritual.  During baptism, Christians renounce the work of the devil; he is anointed with oil like a wrestler being prepared for a match, or a soldier about to go out into the battlefield.   The strength that Paul asks for is one that comes from the Trinity:  the Father in his power and wealth, the Son as he dwells within in faith and the Spirit who acts from within the inner man.  Its purpose is one:  that the Christian, rooted in love, may never forget in the midst of life’s struggles the love by which he is loved by Christ.

Ephesians 3:14-21
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
14For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15Of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named,
16That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened by his Spirit with might unto the inward man,
17That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity,
18You may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and height, and depth:
19To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge, that you may be filled unto all the fulness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us;
21To him be glory in the church, and in Christ Jesus unto all generations, world without end. Amen.
Psalm 33:1-2,18-19
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
1A psalm for David. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye just: praise becometh the upright.
2Give praise to the Lord on the harp; sing to him with the psaltery, the instrument of ten strings.
18Behold the eyes of the Lord are on them that fear him: and on them that hope in his mercy.
19To deliver their souls from death; and feed them in famine.
Luke 12:49-53
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
49I am come to cast fire on the earth; and what will I, but that it be kindled?
50And I have a baptism wherewith I am to be baptized: and how am I straitened until it be accomplished?
51Think ye, that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, no; but separation.
52For there shall be from henceforth five in one house divided: three against two, and two against three.
53The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against his father, the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother, the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

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