Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ephesians 2:20

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone - Ephesians 2:20

Last time, we looked at God's ongoing desire for the unity of His Church. Today we will look at the foundation of the Church.

Architects understand how critical foundations are for the stability of the overlying structure. Build something well, but on sand, and at the first hurricane, it falls. Build it well and on a solid footing, and it will weather any storm. Notice what the Lord Jesus said about foundations, here.

The foundation of New Testament faith is rooted in the Old Testament Scriptures, and in the interpretation of those Scriptures by the New Testament apostles. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (129) teaches: . . . . the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.

And so, let's take a brief look at what the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles taught in order to guide and inform Christ-centered faith.

God is one. While most of the ancient world worshiped a multiplicity of gods, the Creator of all that is seen and unseen revealed Himself to Israel as One. For example, see here and here.

God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die so we might live. He communicates with us so we might know who He is and who we are. And one thing He communicates is He requires our obedience, and He expects us to live holy lives.

Our disobedience would result in eternal separation from God. But that is also why God sent His Son -- to pay the penalty our sins deserved, so we could live eternally with Him.

And God gave to His Church (from the Greek, ekklesia -- meaning "the called-out ones") leaders to protect us from false doctrines.

But despite the solid foundation laid by God's prophets and apostles, the entire structure of our salvation would topple if the cornerstone is off-center. That is why God placed a perfect stone upon which -- and from which -- His Church would be built.

Next time we will look at that cornerstone.

Questions for Reflection:

1. St. Paul wrote that the Church is built on the foundation of the prophets and apostles -- the men who gave us the Scriptures. It has been said, "The Scriptures will keep us from sin, or sin will keep us from the Scriptures." What does that mean to you?

2. St. John Chrysostom wrote: "The mind of the Scriptures can never be exhausted. It is a well without a bottom." And St. Jerome wrote, "Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." What can you glean from these two quotes?

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