When I was in seminary, one of the big courses we had to pass with flying colors early on was called Christology. As the name might suggest, Christology is the study of Jesus Christ, but perhaps more specifically a study of the Church’s theology about Jesus Christ. That course covers what we believe about Christ, the history of the Church’s belief about Christ, and the history of the many schisms and heresies that developed around Christ through the early years of the Church.
When I read this morning’s first reading, I was so taken by the feeling that it was a reading about Christology as a whole. If you want to know what we believe about Jesus Christ, just reread this reading a few times and reflect on it. That’s your homework, by the way! So what I’d like to do is to point out as many of the beliefs covered in this reading as I can, to give you food for thought.
The first part is the standard St. Paul kind of greeting in which he says “grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Foundationally, this prayer says exactly what we believe: grace and peace come from the Father and the Son. He goes on to say that we have all been blessed by the Father in the Son with every spiritual blessing. God has chosen to send his grace, peace and blessing to us through Jesus, because it is Jesus who can relate to us in our human nature. Through Jesus, he says, we have been chosen and called to holiness, loved and adopted as sons and daughters of God.
Because of that love and adoption, God would not leave us in our sin. No, through Christ we are also redeemed, forgiven and lavished with grace. It is through Jesus also that God makes known all the mysteries of life and grace. All of this had been set in motion before the world began, but given to us in time, here and now, through the One who was with him in the beginning and who stays with us until the end. And at the end, everything in heaven and on earth will be summed up in Christ.
As St. Paul says in another place, through Christ, with Christ and in him all things are. Through Christ everything continues in being right up until the end. And so thanks today go to St. Paul, the master theologian who reminds us of the great heritage and hope that we have in Christ. And thanks be to God for the grace that is ours in every moment.