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"He Is Our Peace"

Early this morning, while perusing Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible (hey, what else does one do while waiting for the Times to arrive?), I came upon the entry for "Jebus." Jebus was the town David captured from the Jebusites and then built Jerusalem on the site. The article claims that David sagely chose it as a place where the fractious tribes of the North and South might meet on neutral ground. And then in a providential misprint it declares:

The site of Jesus was free of any tribal traditions or jealousies.

This happy fault brought to mind one of the most striking passages of the New Testament: chapter two of the Letter to the Ephesians. There we read:

But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new person in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end.

The site is his body, and we the reconciled, yet still fractious, tribes. Happy solstice! 

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Jebus is the name by which Homer Simpson calls upon Jesus, so even more providential than you may think.

On a less serious note, the author of Ephesians is talking about the reconciliation between Jew and Gentile there (not that you didn't know that), and while I guess you could transpose its meaning to the situation of Catholics at odds with each other, I'm not sure just how hopeful a note that really strikes, since the unity actually under discussion in the passage never really came to pass,

Mr. R,I don't limit "still fractious tribes" to "Catholics at odds with each other."

I could just have well had said Christians, then. My only point was to make sure that the more specific message of the passage wasn't lost in the extension of it to a different situation, since I think that there must be tension in applying it more broadly.

Nor do I limit it to "Christians." "O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Savior: come and save us, o Lord, our God."All the fractious tribes, reconciled in Christ.

So to whom do you limit it, because Ephesians is discussing the reconciliation of the baptized.

I don't limit "the mystery of God's will ... to unite all things in Christ both in heaven and on earth (Eph 1:9&10).

I think that cosmic claims about reconciliation or recapitulation, or whatever other "re-" events are supposed to transpire in Christ can be as discouraging as they are inspiring, because of the void that persists between the cosmic description and the reality on the ground. You can push everything forward to some sort of eschatological reconciliation that simply exists outside of time as we know it, or you have to live with the problem of the invisibility of the reconciliation being claimed for the present. It's a sort of messianic permutation of the problem of theodicy: if God is just, why such evil in the world? If Christ is the messiah, where is the messianic age? Just how far can you go in telling people that strife has been reconciled in Christ, when strife seems to pretty much rule the day? If this is reconciliation, what does the opposite look like?Remember, it only took until the death of Solomon for the unity between North and South to explode.

Abe,I think the only "response" of faith is the invocation of Romans 8 -- as was done last Sunday in Newtown.

Digression.I don't know where else to post this, but I'm sure some will find it quite interesting. It's a re=print in Concilliaria of a report from Vatican II by the editor of American Magazine about the American bishops at Vatican II. How things have changed. http://conciliaria.com/2012/12/2276/?utm_source=Conciliaria+Weekly+Diges...

If Christ is the messiah, where is the messianic age?The time elapsed since the resurrection is nothing compared to the time from the beginning of the world until the nativity. The messianic age is only just starting, so it's not surprising that we have barely made any progress yet in figuring out and living the good news.

"The dignity and modesty of the American bishops; their evident devotion to the Holy See; their typically American tendency not to push themselves to the fore; their reputation as successful administrators; their independence of character and outlook; their bulging seminaries and large school systems; the recognized loyalty and generosity of their people; the American bishops very number and their relative youthall make it unavoidable that the members of the hierarchy of the United States should be appraised as a group and looked to for support as individuals."Ann, all I can say is: " Sigh."

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About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is an associate professor of theology at Boston College.