In almost poetic language, St. Paul invites the Ephesians to marvel at the unity they are experiencing. Many of them were Gentiles, people who looked down on the Jews almost as much as the Jews looked down on them. And yet here they were worshipping Jesus—alongside of Jewish brothers and sisters! Through Christ, the centuries—old wall dividing them had been broken down, leaving only a bond of love.
But this wasn’t the only time when Jesus brought Jews and Gentiles together. The most important one happened about thirty years earlier, on the first Good Friday. That’s when “Herod and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of lsrael,” overcame their differences… so that they could put Jesus to death. Of course, not everyone was in on the plot, but many were united in their hatred of Jesus.
Isn’t it amazing how Jesus can take something horrible and make it a source of blessing? The devil had created a false and feeble unity in order to eliminate Jesus, but his plan backfired. Where once there was Gentile versus Jew, slave versus free, and woman versus man, now there were only brothers and sisters witnessing to the Spirits power to heal ancient divisions.
If Jesus can overcome centuries of division between Jews and Gentiles, surely he can heal the divisions in our lives. It may not happen overnight or in the way we expect, but it can happen— especially if we work toward it ourselves. So take one relationship today, whether you need to offer forgiveness, let go of resentment, or ask for forgiveness, and see what you can do to break down the walls. It won’t happen overnight—just as it took time for the early Church. But if you persevere, it will happen.