ST. PAUL & HISTORICAL CONTEXT


Look carefully then how you walk, not as the unwise but as the wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery; but be filled in the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart, always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.” (Eph 5: 15-20) In this well-known passage of Ephesians, before St. Paul goes on to instruct wives to be subjected to husbands (5: 22ff), and slaves to obey their masters (6: 5ff), the Apostle underlines an oft-overlooked aspect of what he is saying: historical context. Make the most, he says, “of the time,” – of the specific time in which these Christians are living, “because the days are evil.” Therefore do not be foolish, but understand, within this specific time, what the will of the Lord is. So today the Apostle calls me to “look carefully,” and to walk “not as the unwise but as the wise,” making the most of my own time. I am called to the joyous existence of “being filled in the Spirit,” in His wisdom and in gratitude, “always and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father,” in my own day. Today I give thanks for St. Paul, who speaks to me not as to a child, but as to an adult, capable of discerning, contextualizing, and exercising wisdom, in the freedom of the Spirit, rather than repetition of the letter. Glory be to Him, the life-giving Comforter of my here and now.

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