For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles—2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7 I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8 Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. 13 I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory.
Do you enjoy reading a good mystery book? Or watching a mystery show or movie? I remember growing up watching Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! In the show, Scooby, a Great Dane, Fred, Shaggy, Daphne, and Velma, all team up to investigate a mystery. Usually what appears to be a ghost or another kind of paranormal activity causes enough fear or harm in a town that warrants the investigation of the aforementioned team. We see a ghost or monster try and sabotage the investigation by scaring the team but, in the end, the team catches the creature and the mask comes off to reveal a flesh and blood human who we’ve met at some point already in the episode.
The formula in the show was simple and straightforward. It became easy over time to predict who the villain in the episode was because the same pattern was repeated. That being said, I still enjoyed the show as a kid. Paul transitions from speaking cosmically about all that God has done for us in Christ and how that has direct implications for our lives, as we are commissioned to be the primary means by which God’s love and mercy are made manifest in the world, to express the eagerness of the message. This message is a mystery that has now been made known to the world. Its revelation is greater than anything we could have hoped for given how undeserving we are of being included in its promise. Previously, this mystery was kept hidden and even though there were signs all along the way pointing towards this end, God chose Paul to reveal this mystery to the Gentiles. As we saw yesterday, the Gentile invitation and inclusion in the kingdom of God is the big mystery revealed. We could not look to the patterns in history or in nature to discover the truth. And the fullness of the truth was not made known to the generations before Paul. Now, God is making this great mystery known and it’s good news the whole world needs to hear!
The way God communicates the meaning of the mystery to Paul is through revelation. God doesn’t wear any masks. He doesn’t disguise himself. He comes in flesh and blood. He sees us face to face and speaks directly to us. Jesus is the Word made flesh. This is why the Bible is so important. This summary from the Catechism of the Catholic Church is helpful for us to understand the revelation of Sacred Scripture:
The inspired books teach the truth. "Since therefore all that the inspired authors or sacred writers affirm should be regarded as affirmed by the Holy Spirit, we must acknowledge that the books of Scripture firmly, faithfully, and without error teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the Sacred Scriptures." Still, the Christian faith is not a "religion of the book." Christianity is the religion of the "Word" of God, a word which is "not a written and mute word, but the Word is incarnate and living". If the Scriptures are not to remain a dead letter, Christ, the eternal Word of the living God, must, through the Holy Spirit, "open [our] minds to understand the Scriptures.”
Though Paul wasn’t one of the twelve disciples who knew Jesus when he was alive, Christ encountered Paul on the road to Damascus and Paul was forever changed. We can rely on the truth of the mystery revealed because the source is not of human origin. Paul is given the charge to administer this mystery. As members of Christ’s Body, we are charged to administer this mystery also. What does that look like for you today? How can you administer this great mystery so others will know, like you, that they are invited to approach God with freedom and confidence?
Holy God, thank you for making your love known to us. Continue to reveal your will for our lives as we seek to follow where you lead us. Keep us far from temptation and deliver us from evil. Take us deeper into fellowship so your ways become our ways and your thoughts become our thoughts until your kingdom comes on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version ® NIV ®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.