03 Jan Friday
The Ephesians text for Epiphany also states the main mission of the Church as to the “nations,” as co-heirs. In that day this would have been an extremely revolutionary thought and practice in the Roman Empire. While there were conversions to this cult or that, the Christian claim and commitment were really like no other, in that the Christian took their stewardship of grace directly and purposively to mean evangelization. The commitment to Christianity could lead directly to martyrdom, and so it was never done lightly or on a whim. No other cult was persecuted in the same way to the same extent.
The letter to the Ephesians stresses this point throughout: the church has a mission to the nations and all are welcome to share the grace of God.
Today the passage may very well be read in terms of the rampant racial prejudices, even and especially in the Church, which still remains predominantly Euro-centric. It is ironic that Europe now should be the focus of the mission of evangelization. The same is true of the United States.