For surely you have already heard of the commission of God’s grace that was given me for you, and how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I wrote above in a few words, a reading of which will enable you to perceive my understanding of the mystery of Christ. In former generations this mystery was not made known to humankind, as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: that is, the Gentiles have become fellow heirs, members of the same body, and sharers in the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I have become a servant according to the gift of God’s grace that was given me by the working of his power. Although I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given to me to bring to the Gentiles the news of the boundless riches of Christ, and to make everyone see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things; so that through the church the wisdom of God in its rich variety might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose that he has carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have access to God in boldness and confidence through faith in him.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
Today’s letter to the Ephesians contains one of the most important words in the New Testament. Paul speaks of the Father accomplishing his purposes in Christ “in whom we have boldness of speech.” The Greek word is parresia. Originally, it referred to the freedom a full citizen enjoyed to say what was on his mind. Thus, the citizen could be frank in proclaiming the truth openly.
Christians possess this same openness regarding God. In Christ, the Father opened up his own life and love to the world. Christ opened the heavens so that the unseen Father might be made manifest. Because we possess such access to the truth, we can be courageous in proclaiming it. This is Christian parresia.
But Jesus did not reveal the Father as a static set of truths to be offered at one point, collected into barns, and stored away for periodic inspection. Rather, after his ascension, the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles to interpret the revelation of Christ within the Church throughout all generations. Our access to the Father, therefore, remains a constant, dynamic openness to all who approach Him in the Spirit and through the Son. Thus, Paul was empowered to understand the mystery of Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. He therefore had the parresia to proclaim the gospel, not just to Israel, but to all nations. Today let be aware of the parresia we possess in Christ so that we might be his witnesses in the world.
—Fr. Kevin Dyer, S.J.
Lord, our relationship with you remains a constant, dynamic experience, as we approach you through the Holy Spirit and through the Son. Let our behavior be a bold statement of our commitment to you. Let our words be a witness to your powerful presence in our lives. Help us to find those opportune moments when we can share our faith with others – not embarrassed about our convictions and not aggressive in our approach. Help our behavior and our decisions proclaim our faithfulness to you, particularly when criticism abounds and others doubt our judgment and motives. And let us also be courageous when we step out of our comfort zone to defend those principles core to our relationship with you.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!