The week before last when we had readings from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians we read how after his conversion, he spent fourteen silent years ruminating on the mysteries of his faith. Today’s reading from his Letter to the Ephesians leads us to an appreciation of those years of prayerful thought.
Here he describes the church as “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.”
It took those years of prayer and deep thought to distill so much truth in so few words.
The Church is “built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets.” That links the Old and New Testament as a single source of our indebtedness to Divine Revelation.
Secondly, it affirms the contention of the French bishops at Vatican II, when they insisted on Ressoucement, or the need even for the Magisterium to be true to its roots in Christ and the Apostles.
Without Paul explicitly saying it, his image has us all individually serving as stones in the wall of the church building
The truly beautiful element in his image is, “with Christ Jesus himself as the capstone.”
There he sees the church structure as an arch. The stones laid on each side are slightly wider on their outside, so that the sides of the wall curve in toward each other. Then, when they are just short of falling inward, the capstone, shaped like a slice from a rim, is wedged in between the rising sides, locking them in place.
Paul doesn’t name that capstone Jesus who passed from this world, but he calls it Christ Jesus who from heaven actively holds the church edifice together.