Be Renewed: Ephesians 4:17-24

thumbnail18and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.  (verses 23, 24)

In my own Lenten journal, I become aware of “where the rubber meets the road,” as Lent calls upon me again to persevere in practical ways with the continual growth and transformation to which I am being called by God:  “It has become clearer to me while praying this morning that the great challenge for me on a daily basis, at this point in my life, is that of balancing the healthy routine for which I am aiming, with openness to breaks in that routine when I must do what love suddenly requires–that is, immediately responding to the Father’s promptings.  The healthy routine is very important; but giving God permission, as it were, to remain at the helm of my life is even more important.  Having in mind a broad outline of the week ahead of me can be invaluable in ordering my days, in prioritizing, and in eliminating truly worthless pursuits–frivolities of various kinds–and also in not doing certain good works that are really not necessary ones for me to do at this point.  This, of course, calls for a large dose of the Wisdom from Above, something for which I’ve been praying quite often lately.”

And this morning I came across a Meditation in Magnificat which is well worth pondering. I’ll share a portion with you here before I give you a reading and listening assignment which can enrich the Ephesians passage we are studying:  Whatever their personal gifts, Christians are small people…Small in God’s presence because God created them and they depend on Him…They are gentle like weak, loving children, close to their Father who is strong and loving…

They are small because they know that they are in God’s presence and they know only a few things, and are limited in their love and in their knowledge.  They do not argue about the will of God in the events that happen, nor do they argue about what Christ has commanded them to do, so that in these events they may themselves, for their part, do the will of God.  They are gentle like the trusted and active performers of a work, the enormousness of which is hidden from them, while yet they know their own particular task.  (Madeleine Delbrel)

Verses 17-21 of Ephesians 4 contain a reminder for baptized Christians, an exhortation to persevere in becoming the people in this world which our baptism originally called us to be.  Some additional Scriptures which can deepen our comprehension of what St. Paul is saying here are Colossians 1:5,6; Colossians 2:4-8; Romans 1:21; I Peter 1:14,15; II Corinthians 11:3; Hebrews 3:12,13; Mark 3:4,5; and Matthew 11:29,30.

Ephesians 4:22-24 are powerfully reminiscent of St. Paul’s teaching about the reality and call of baptism in Romans 6:1-7.  Along with this passage I recommend a homily by Fr. Barron on the Lord’s Baptism, giving us a foundational understanding of the ongoing power of our baptism and our renewal as people who are, on this earth, Christ’s body, the new Temple of the Holy Spirit.  This can be accessed at   Select Sermons, about halfway down the home page on the left.  Then, select the sermon archives for 2009 and select Sermon 418. I think you’ll be glad you did.

Blessings, JC