Unity of the Spirit-make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Unity of the Spirit
4 As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Paul, speaking from his place of captivity (it may not have been much more than house arrest), appeals to the church to remain faithful to its original calling, that is, the call to be a follower of Christ. Implying that there are some divisions among them, he asks them to be more accepting and understanding of each other “with all humility and gentleness, with patience”. They can do this by bearing with one another through love and by being aware of the unity of the Spirit, shown by the deep ties of peace that bind them together.
That peace is the sign of the Spirit at work among them. And it is a truly inner peace and not just an external absence of conflict.
He then lists the gifts they all share in common. There are seven ‘unities’ listed, reflecting the Trinity but in reverse order to normal – Spirit, Christ, Father
– church, Spirit, hope
– Lord, faith in Christ, baptism
– one God
1, There is one Body, that is, the Body of the church with Christ as its unifying Head;
2, one Spirit, the Spirit of the Father and the Son, given to them in baptism;
3, called together in one shared hope, a confident assurance that they will one day enjoy a glorious future of happiness without end, face to face with God;
4, one Lord, Jesus Christ;
5, one faith in Jesus Christ and his Gospel;
6, one baptism, referring most probably not just to a “baptism in the Spirit” but to the external sacramental celebration by which one was publicly marked as a member of the community.
7, one God, the Father of each one without exception, who is “over all, through all and within all”.
With such bonds linking the members together, both Jews and Gentiles, there can be no place for disunity and conflict. The links are both with the Persons of the Trinity and with the members of the community – all sharing in the one Divine Life.
Let us too today remind ourselves that, today, we too as Christians have all these in common.
Let us pray that we may grow more deeply aware of these common elements and they may help to bring us all closer together in a common faith, hope and love.
Of David. A psalm.
1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
2 for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
3 Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.[a]
Interpreting the Times
54 He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. 55 And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is.56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
57 “Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right? 58 As you are going with your adversary to the magistrate, try hard to be reconciled on the way, or your adversary may drag you off to the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison. 59 I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.”