Ephesians 4:7-13
7 Brethren, unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be! As with any Sunday morning Liturgy, there are so many things we could talk about from our Epistle and Gospel readings—the grace given to each of us according to our capacity in Christ, the various gifts given for the spreading and the building of the faith, the knowledge of God, the fullness of the work of Christ. But I’d like us to hear a few of the verses we read from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians. And there’s no build up to a poignant or earth shattering conclusion in this morning’s homily…let’s just hear what St. Paul has to say, understand it, and then carry it with us this week—a word from God for our lives and our prayer this week. These 2 verses aren’t as much commented on today, because we prefer to talk about the gifts God gives, or theology, or the growth of the Church (all things that St. Paul touches on in this Epistle reading). But we really have to constantly keep in mind that all of everything that we believe and we do as Christians is based on the person and the saving work of Christ. St. Paul writes, “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things” (Ephesians 4:9-10). It’s very easy for us to get caught up in the lives that we live. Whether it’s our jobs, our families, or entertainment, our selves…a myriad of things and activities constantly consumes our attention and our energy every day. And even unknowingly, so many of us go through so much of each day trying to hold everything together, to balance, to stay in control, on our own. We get up in the morning and we ask God’s blessing on our day, and maybe we even remember to give thanks at the end of the day. But all that time in between, for the most part, most of us try to do alone. And that leaves Christians just like everybody else in the world—stressed and angry and scared and always out of time and never quite good enough. But those who are baptized into Christ have put on Christ…we’re not to be just like everyone else, we’re to be transformed by the presence of God. But instead we leave Christ out of every moment (even accidentally) and so everything in our lives as Christians becomes no different than the lives of those without Christ. St. Paul reminds us this morning that the work of Christ—descending to earth, being raised on the Cross, descending into the depths of the earth, and ascending to the right hand of the Father—this saving work of Christ is done so “that He might fill all things.” Not only the five minutes of prayer in the morning and the few hours of Liturgy each week. Christ comes to fill all things, every aspect of our lives can be transformed by His presence. There’s nothing too mundane for the presence of Christ. And in fact, if we understand the Scriptures and the Fathers, there’s nothing possible apart from Christ. He comes to fill all things so that for us all things might be possible. But we forget so easily that Christ is “everywhere present and filling all things”—from the heavens above to the depths of Hell, from the horrors of genocide to the penthouse in New York City. And each and every moment of each of our lives, Christ is present, presenting Himself to us in order to call us to the Father. Fr. Zacharias puts it this way: “[In the Lord’s Incarnation], He embraced heaven and earth and all the created world…He filled the whole of the created world with His creative and saving energy, so that we might be able to meet the Lord wherever we may be: whether in joy or in the hell of our difficulties, He is present, because He has filled the entire universe with His divine energy and life. He filled the waters by being baptized in the Jordan; He illumined the infernal regions by His descent into Hades. When He was ascended into heaven…[He] sanctified all the airs and all the skies” (The Enlargement of the Heart, p.193). Christ touched and filled all things. God humbled Himself to take on our form, and in all that He suffered He was offering Himself to us in every way He possibly could. And even after we accept this teaching as true, and we enter into a relationship with Christ in the Church, why is it that even after this, and after all that Christ has done for us, we so easily forget and choose to do things our own way? There are only two ways—of life and of death, of Christ and of the demons—only two choices. Christ walked every step we’ll ever take so that He could be there with us, guiding us through, helping us along the way. Filling all things with His presence. Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Advertisements