Paul describes the situation of the Gentiles before their conversion to Christianity. For the Jews, the Gentiles were strangers to God (Eph 2:11-15), excluded from their membership and have no part in the covenant. In fact “they are without God.” They have been brought close through Christ who is our peace and reconciliation. There can be no meaningful and lasting peace without Christ. The best definition of peace according to Isaiah is fruit of Justice. Peace is so important that Jews greet each other shalom. Christ calls peacemakers children of God. Today Peace is one of the most elusive treasures on planet earth. The numerous wars, countless heart broken by untimely deaths, betrayed commitments, greed and lies are just a hint of how much peace we need. In the first reading Paul attributes the lack of peace to a life lived without God. Certainly Paul does not deny that the Ephesians had many gods before converting to Christ. His point is that without the true God no one is worthy of the name.
But what does mean when accused the Ephesians of living without God when, in fact he knows very well that God in his entirety is everywhere and have the foreknowledge that he will have the Gentiles? Or how could we be separated from him who created all things, in whom all things exist and to whom all things will return? Well, for Paul, life lived enmeshed in the world and being destitute of the knowledge of God is tantamount to living without God. And life without God does not guarantee enjoyment of the good promised to Israel.
The true way of Israel consists in living according to the spirit, thinking according to the spirit and being circumcised from unworthy desires. This is the lack in the Ephesians which Paul equates to their being separated from God. And such a state there cannot be peace.
Christ is our peace. Elsewhere Paul calls him mediator because he interposed himself between divided realms by his own mystery, his cross, his passion and his way of life. He destroys sin that causes us to be separated from God and taught that it could be overcome. Since we continue the work of Christ, we are called to become peacemakers, reconcilers and bridge builder. This is easy mission. Today celebrate the martyrdom of St. John De Brébeuf and his companions, pioneer missionaries who brought love and peace to North America but had to pay the ultimate price with their blood.
In the gospel we see in the role reversal as reward of being faithful to our mission: with our dignity such transformed, if we live in Christ and persevere to the end we will share in the eschatological banquet, enjoying the good promised to Israel at the fulfillment of time Christ will see us his own dignity shared with humanity. Theresa often asked her sister “if you don’t see Christ in the Eucharist how would see him in the poor? Let now turn to that table of heavenly banquet for the nourishment and enlightenment we need to be able to see that redeemed dignity in the people we meet and interact with today and relate with them as such.