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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Concluding Remarks

Ephesians strikes a balance between reflection on the church as a universal, spiritual reality and application in the daily lives of Christians of their new identity as members of this spiritual creation. The letter also emphasizes the congruence between Christians' personal spirituality and their responsibilities in relationships with one another. Through baptism we are renewed. We have put off the “old humanity,” symbolized by Adam; we have been transformed into a “new humanity,” in Christ. We are called to be imitators of God and to reflect God's love and compassion in our daily lives.

As part of our Christian Scriptures, Ephesians stands as a continual challenge calling us beyond the present to a deeper reality where all things are in the care of God. The present with its trials, temptations, failures, and limitations can indeed discourage us. The problems of resolving tensions and enduring suffering are temporary. Ephesians is a letter from prison, addressing a church afflicted with oppression from the outside, confusion and dissension from within. Ephesians testifies to the author's faith and by the hope of God's plan for the salvation of the entire world—a plan that will be fulfilled despite, and even by means of, apparent obstacles. When we are confronted by the limitations of our present circumstances or hampered by fear, Ephesians provides encouragement. For us as Christians, the liturgy celebrates a communion with God. Faith is conviction of things unseen, especially about the triumph of God in Christ.

Ephesians is one of the most hope‐filled and confident of all the Pauline letters. It may lack the usual personal tone expected of communities Paul knew well. But Ephesians expresses fundamental Christian beliefs that continue to characterize the church today. For example, despite suffering and failures, the church celebrates the reality of salvation already experienced in the daily life of Christians. In our world, where many families are in crisis, we read Paul's advice about mutual relationships with members of God's household and take courage in the admonition to serve one another in love. Like the writer of Ephesians, the modern church at Vatican II complemented reflection on the nature of the church with the role of the church in the modern world. The church as Christ's body, no matter what its limitations, is called and empowered to reconcile the whole world to God. Each of us, as members of the church, has a role in this mission.

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