Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


There was only one remedy in the secret of the divine plan that could help the fallen living in the general ruin of the entire human race. This remedy was that one of the sons of Adam should be born free and innocent of original transgression, to prevail for the rest by his example and by his merits. This was not permitted by natural generation. There could be no clean offspring from our faulty stock by this seed. The Scripture says, “Who can make a clean thing conceived of an unclean seed? Isn’t it you alone?” David’s Lord was made David’s Son, and from the fruit of the promised branch sprang. He is one without fault, the twofold nature coming together into one person. By this one and the same conception and birth sprung our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom was present both true Godhead for the performance of mighty works and true manhood for the endurance of sufferings.1


He reminds us that we were brought close to God by the blood of Christ in order to show how great is God’s affection toward us, since he allowed his own Son to die. We too, enduring in faith, should not yield to despair in any of the agonies inflicted on us for his sake, knowing that what he deserves from us exceeds all that our enemies can bring upon us.2


Christ, he says, “is our peace.” Elsewhere Paul calls him mediator. He interposed himself of his own accord between divided realms. Souls born of God’s fountain of goodness were being detained in the world. There was a wall in their midst, a sort of fence, a partition made by the deceits of the flesh and worldly lusts. Christ by his own mystery, his cross, his passion and his way of life destroyed this wall. He overcame sin and taught that it could be overcome. He destroyed the lusts of the world and taught that they ought to be destroyed. He took away the wall in the midst. It was in his own flesh that he overcame the enmity. The work is not ours. We are not called to set ourselves free. Faith in Christ is our only salvation.3


The law was a fence, but this was made for our security. This is why it was called a fence, so that it might fence us in.… Now he has “abolished the law of commandments” through his teaching. Oh, what love of humanity! He gave us a law that we might keep it, but when we failed to keep it and deserved punishment he dissolved the law.4


He has not annulled the Decalogue.… For Christ the Lord himself held these up to the one who wanted to know the way to eternal life. But by doctrines he meant the gospel teaching, since the realizing of full maturity lies in the responsive choices of the will.… Yet these gospel teachings are not laid down as laws. They are a matter of free choice. What he does lay down as law is what he inscribed on nature when he created it in the beginning.5


However, it should not be thought possible to achieve perfect and complete reconciliation in this world.… The making of the new person in Christ will be fully consummated when earthly and heavenly things have been reconciled, when we come to the Father in one Spirit and with one affection and understanding.6



  1. SERMON 28.3.  Wenthe, D. O. (Ed.). (2009). Jeremiah, Lamentations (p. 167). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 2.13.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 138). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  3. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 1.2.14–15.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 138). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  4. HOMILY ON EPHESIANS 5.2.13–15.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 139). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  5. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 2.14–15.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 139). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  6. EPISTLE TO THE EPHESIANS 1.2.15 SEQ.  Edwards, M. J. (Ed.). (1999). Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians (p. 142). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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