Bookmark and Share

The Relationship of Christ to the Church Connected With the Tradition of the Prophets

95 (of 129) - Catechesis by John Paul II on the Theology of the Body
General Audience, Wednesday 22 September 1982 - in Italian, Portuguese & Spanish

"1. The Letter to the Ephesians, by means of a comparison of the relation between Christ and the Church with the spousal relationship of husband and wife, refers to the tradition of the prophets of the Old Testament. To illustrate it we recall again the following passage of Isaiah:

"Fear not, for you will not be ashamed; be not confounded, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name, and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love, I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer. For this is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you and will not rebuke you. For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you" (Is 54:4-10).

2. The text of Isaiah in this case does not contain the reproaches made to Israel as an unfaithful spouse, which echo so strongly in the other texts, especially of Hosea and Ezekiel. Thanks to this, the essential content of the biblical analogy becomes more evident. The love of God-Yahweh for the chosen people-Israel is expressed as the love of the man-spouse for the woman chosen to be his wife by means of the marriage alliance. In this way Isaiah explains the events which make up the course of Israel's history, going back to the mystery hidden in the heart of God. In a certain sense, he leads us in the same direction in which, after many centuries, the author of the Letter to the Ephesians will lead us. Basing himself on the redemption already accomplished in Christ, he will reveal much more fully the depth of the mystery itself.

3. The text of the prophet has all the coloring of the tradition and the mentality of the people of the Old Testament. Speaking in the name of God and, as it were, with his words, the prophet addresses Israel as a husband would address the wife he chose. These words brim over with an authentic ardor of love. At the same time they place in relief the whole specific character both of the situation and of the outlook proper to that age. They underline that the choice on the part of the man takes away the woman's "dishonor." According to the opinion of society, this "dishonor" seems connected with the marriageable state, whether original (virginity), or secondary (widowhood), or finally that deriving from repudiation of a wife who is not loved (cf. Dt 24:1) or in the case of an unfaithful wife. However, the text quoted does not mention infidelity, but it indicates the motive of the "love of compassion."(1) Thereby it indicates not merely the social nature of marriage in the Old Testament, but also the very character of the gift, which is the love of God for the spouse-Israel: a gift which derives entirely from God's initiative. In other words, it indicates the dimension of grace, which from the beginning is contained in that love. This is perhaps the strongest declaration of love on God's part, linked with the solemn oath of faithfulness forever.

4. The analogy of the love which unites spouses is brought out strongly in this passage. Isaiah says: "...for your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name, and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth he is called" (Is 54:5). So then, in that text God himself, in all his majesty as Creator and Lord of creation, is explicitly called "spouse" of the chosen people. This spouse speaks of his great compassion, which will not depart from Israel-spouse, but will constitute a stable foundation of the alliance of peace with him. Thus the motif of spousal love and of marriage is linked with the motif of alliance. Besides, the Lord of hosts calls himself not only "Creator," but also "Redeemer." The text has a theological content of extraordinary richness.

5. Comparing the text of Isaiah with the Letter to the Ephesians and noting the continuity regarding the analogy of spousal love and of marriage, we should point out at the same time a certain diversity of theological viewpoint. Already in the first chapter the author of the letter speaks of the mystery of love and of election, whereby "God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" embraces mankind in his Son, especially as a mystery "hidden in the mind of God." This is a mystery of eternal love, the mystery of election to holiness (" be holy and blameless before him"—Eph 1:4) and of adoption as sons in Christ ("He destined us to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ"—Eph 1:5). In this context, the deduction of the analogy concerning marriage which we have found in Isaiah ("For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name"—Is 54:5), seems to be a foreshortened view constituting a part of the theological perspective. The first dimension of love and of election, as a mystery hidden for ages in God, is a paternal and not a "conjugal" dimension. According to the Letter to the Ephesians the first characteristic note of that mystery remains connected with the paternity of God, set out in relief especially by the prophets (cf. Hos 11:1-4; Is 63:8-9; 64:7; Mal 1:6).

6. The analogy of spousal love and of marriage appears only when the Creator and the Holy One of Israel of the text of Isaiah is manifested as Redeemer. Isaiah says: "For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name, and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer" (Is 54:5). Already in this text it is possible, in a certain sense, to read the parallelism between the spouse and the Redeemer. Passing to the Letter to the Ephesians we should observe that this thought is fully developed there. The figure of the Redeemer(2) is already delineated in the first chapter as proper to him who is the first "beloved Son" of the Father (Eph 1:6), beloved from eternity, of him, in whom all of us have been loved by the Father "for ages." It is the Son of the same substance of the Father, "in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses according to the riches of his grace" (Eph 1:7). The same Son, as Christ (or as the Messiah) "has loved the Church and has given himself up for her" (Eph 5:25).

This splendid formulation of the Letter to the Ephesians summarizes in itself and at the same time sets in relief the elements of the Canticle on the Servant of Yahweh and of the Canticle of Sion (cf. e.g., Is 42:1; 53:8-12; 54:8).

And thus the giving of himself up for the Church is equivalent to carrying out the work of redemption. In this way the "Creator Lord of hosts" of Isaiah becomes the "Holy One of Israel," of the new Israel, as Redeemer. In the Letter to the Ephesians the theological perspective of the prophetic text is preserved and at the same time deepened and transformed. New revealed moments enter: the trinitarian, Christological(3) and finally the eschatological moment.

7. Thus St. Paul, writing the letter to the People of God of the new covenant and precisely to the church of Ephesus, will no longer repeat: "Your Maker is your husband." But he will show in what way the Redeemer, who is the firstborn Son and for ages "beloved of the Father," reveals contemporaneously his salvific love. This love consists in giving himself up for the Church, as spousal love whereby he espouses the Church and makes it his own Body. Thus the analogy of the prophetic texts of the Old Testament (in this case especially of Isaiah) remains preserved in the Letter to the Ephesians and at the same time obviously transformed. A mystery corresponds to the analogy, a mystery which is expressed and, in a certain sense, explained by means of it. In the text of Isaiah this mystery is scarcely outlined, "half-open" as it were; however, in the Letter to the Ephesians it is fully revealed (but of course without ceasing to be a mystery). In the Letter to the Ephesians both dimensions are explicitly clear: the eternal dimension of the mystery inasmuch as it is hidden in God ("the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ"), and the dimension of its historical fulfillment, according to its Christological and at the same ecclesiological dimension. The analogy of marriage referred especially to the second dimension. Also in the prophets (in Isaiah) the analogy of marriage referred directly to a historical dimension. It was linked with the history of the chosen people of the old covenant, with the history of Israel. On the other hand the Christological and the ecclesiological dimension was found only as an embryo in the Old Testament fulfillment of the mystery; it was only foretold.

Nonetheless it is clear that the text of Isaiah helps us to understand better the Letter to the Ephesians and the great analogy of the spousal love of Christ and the Church."

After the catechesis, Papa Giovanni Paolo II greeted the pilgrims in various languages:

Ai pellegrini di espressione francese

Chers Frères et Sœurs,

J’ai largement cité et commenté en italien le texte d’Isaïe qui se résume ainsi: “Ton époux est ton Créateur . . .; avec une immense tendresse, je vais t’unir à moi”. Dans l’Ancien Testament, c’est sans doute la déclaration d’amour la plus forte de la part de Dieu envers Israël, son peuple élu, qu’il considère comme l’épouse qu’il a choisie. Si ce choix unilatéral de l’homme, qui choisit sa femme et lui enlève ainsi le déshonneur de ne pas connaître l’état de mariage, correspond bien à l’époque d’alors, il demeure que la perspective convient très bien à Dieu qui a l’entière initiative du don de l’alliance, car il est le Maître de toute la Création.

Quand on passe à la lettre aux Ephésiens du Nouveau Testament, la perspective est apparemment un peu diverse; en fait elle prolonge, approfondit et enrichit celle d’Isaïe, grâce au mystère de la sainte Trinité et de la Rédemption. L’épître parle d’abord de l’amour paternel du Créateur, qui a voulu adopter les hommes comme fils, dans son Fils unique. Mais c’est ce Fils unique, incarné, qui opère la Rédemption en se livrant pour sauver l’Eglise, et, comme Rédempteur, c’est lui qui devient l’époux de l’Eglise. Le mariage est le signe d’un tel amour.

En vous confiant la méditation de ce mystère, je vous exprime, chers pèlerins de langue française, mon affectueuse salutation et mes vœux cordiaux pour chacun de vous, pour vos familles, vos communautés et pour tous ceux qui vous sont chers, avec ma Bénédiction Apostolique.

A gruppi di lingua inglese

Dear brothers and sisters,

We have been reflecting on the great comparison found in the Letter to the Ephesians. Here Saint Paul compares the relationship between Christ and the Church to the relationship of conjugal love between husband and wife. And this comparison is connected with the tradition of the Prophets of the Old Testament, especially Isaiah.

Isaiah portrays the love of God for the chosen people of Israel as the love of a husband for the wife he has chosen by means of a marriage alliance. God declares his love for his people and connects it with his solemn oath of everlasting fidelity. The Creator and Lord of creation is explicitly called the bridegroom of the chosen people. The Lord of hosts calls himself the “Redeemer”.

This thought finds its continuity and development in the Letter to the Ephesians, where Saint Paul shows how the Redeemer, who is firstborn and beloved Son of the Father, reveals his saving love for the Church. Christ’s love consists in giving himself for the Church, which he makes his bride. Saint Paul retains the analogy of the Old Testament, but at the same time he develops it with regard to the Most Holy Trinity, to Christ and to its final culmination.

The Prophet Isaiah truly helps us to understand better the great analogy of Christ’s conjugal love for the Church.

My greetings and blessing go to all the visitors assembled here today from different countries and continents.

* * *

I extend a particular welcome to the group of Scottish priests who are in Rome for a course of renewal, as well as to the new students of the Venerable English College. I pray that during your stay in Rome you will be confirmed in the faith of the Apostle Peter, who continues to proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God.

* * *

A warm and special greeting to the visitors from Scandinavia: to the social workers from Sweden and to the group from Norway, including the association for the restoration of Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim. In you I greet with friendship and respect all the citizens of your countries.

* * *

I wish to convey to the group of refugees from Afghanistan the solicitude and deep personal interest that the Catholic Church has for them and for all the refugees of the world. May Almighty God direct your steps in the way of brotherhood and peace.

* * *

From Asia I welcome the Indian ballet group, which is returning from the Katholikentag, and the Volunteer Probation Officers European tour group from Japan. Your presence here is greatly appreciated.

* * *

And finally, during this Teresian centenary, I greet the first International Congress of Englishspeaking Secular members of both the ancient and discalced observances of Carmel, coming from the United States. May all of you ascend together, with Mary, to that holy mountain, Christ himself. God bless you all.

A gruppi provenienti da aree di espressione tedesca

Liebe Brüder und Schwestern!

Bei unseren wöchentlichen Überlegungen über das christliche Verständnis der Ehe verweilen wir zur Zeit bei der Lehre des hl. Paulus im Brief an die Epheser. Der Apostel ermahnt dort die Eheleute, einander so zu lieben, wie Christus die Kirche liebt. Er vergleicht somit den Ehebund mit dem Liebesbund zwischen Christus und der Kirche.

Einen ähnlichen Vergleich finden wir bereits im Alten Testament. So nennt der Prophet Jesaja Gott den ”Gemahl“ des auserwählten Volkes: ”Dein Schöpfer ist dein Gemahl, “Herr der Heere” ist sein Name. Der Heilige Israels ist dein Erlöser“ (Is. 54, 5). Gottes Liebe zu seinem Volk wird beschrieben wie die Liebe eines Mannes zu seiner Frau: ”Ja, der Herr hat dich gerufen als verlassene, bekümmerte Frau . . .; mit ewiger Huld habe ich Erbarmen mit dir, spricht dein Erlöser, der Herr“ (Ibid. 54, 6 ss.). Gott ergreift die Initiative und neigt sich in erbarmender Liebe zu seinem Volk wie der Bräutigam zu seiner Braut.

Auch der Autor des Epheserbriefes spricht von der Liebe Gottes, die im Sohn von Ewigkeit her die Menschen umfängt. Den Vergleich mit der bräutlichen Liebe benutzt er jedoch erst, wo diese Liebe Gottes sich in der Liebe des Erlösers konkret geschichtlich als Liebe zur Kirche verwirklicht. Der hl. Paulus bezeichnet nicht Gott den Schöpfer, sondern Christus den Erlöser als ”Gemahl“, als Bräutigam der Kirche. Die christologische Dimension der Erlösung ist beim Propheten Jesaja nur erst vorherverkündend angedeutet, indem auch er schon Gott den Schöpfer als ”Erlöser“ seines Volkes bezeichnet.

Mit diesen Überlegungen über das hohe Ideal der christlichen Ehe grüße ich heute alle deutschsprachigen Besucher sehr herzlich zu dieser kurzen Begegnung auf dem Petersplatz. Ich grüße besonders die Eheleute unter euch, die sich darum bemühen, ihrer Berufung gemäß zu leben. Ich grüße alle Priester und Ordensleute sowie alle genannten und auch ungenannten Gruppen und erbitte euch gnadenvolle Tage in der Ewigen Stadt.

Schließlich richte ich noch einen besonderen Willkommensgruß an die hier anwesenden Mitglieder des Pastoralkollegs der Evangelischen Kirche in Westfalen. Gern vereinige ich mich mit Ihrem Gebet an den Gräbern der Apostel und erbitte für alle Christen den Geist der Brüderlichkeit und Einheit. Mit diesem Gebetswunsch erteile ich allen deutschsprachigen Pilgern von Herzen den Apostolischen Segen.

Ai fedeli di lingua spagnola

Amadísimos hermanos y hermanas,

Saludo con afecto y doy la bienvenida a esta Audiencia a todas las personas y grupos de lengua española, venidos de España y de América Latina.

La Carta a los Efesios que estamos analizando, a través del parangón de Cristo y la Iglesia con la relación esponsal de los cónyuges, hace referencia a la tradición profética del Antiguo Testamento.

En Isaías encontramos un ejemplo. Nos habla del amor misericordioso, indicando con ello no sólo la índole social del matrimonio en la Antigua Alianza, sino también el carácter mismo del don, que es el amor de Dios hacia Israel-esposa: don que proviene enteramente de la iniciativa de Dios; en otras palabras: es la dimensión de la gracia contenida en aquel amor.

Al confrontar el texto de Isaías con la Carta a los Efesios encontramos una óptica teológica distinta. Vemos que la primera dimensión del amor y de la elección, como misterio escondido desde los siglos en Dios, es una dimensión paterna y no “conyugal”. Y así la donación de Cristo a la Iglesia equivale al cumplimiento de la obra de la redención.

Está claro que el texto de Isaías nos ayuda a comprender mejor la Carta a los Efesios: la gran analogía del amor esponsal de Cristo y de la Iglesia.

* * *

Un cordial saludo a los niños de la Escolanía del Pilar. Seguid prestando vuestra apreciada colaboración en los actos litúrgicos de vuestra Basílica mariana. Me alegro de vuestra visita y espero veros muy pronto en Zaragoza.

A todos los aquí presentes de lengua española mi Bendición Apostólica.

Ai gruppi di lingua portoghese

Dirijo agora a minha saudação aos peregrinos e ouvintes de língua portuguesa (de Portugal, do Brasil, de Angola, de Moçambique e de São Tomé e Príncipe).

Com palavras de boas vindas quero deixar-vos uma mensagem tirada da carta de São Paulo aos Efésios. O Profeta Isaías mostrara como o próprio Deus-Javé, em toda a sua majestade de Criador e Senhor, é chamado “esposo” do povo eleito. Nesta expressão percebe-se um grande afecto, como fundamento estável para uma aliança de paz. Deus não aparece apenas como Criador, mas também como Redentor de seu povo.

São Paulo mostra como este Redentor, que é o Filho muito amado do Pai, revela o amor salvífico na sua doação à Igreja. É o mistério que estava escondido em Deus e que agora se manifesta em Cristo.

Desejando-vos bom proveito nesta vossa estada em Roma, dou-vos a minha Bênção.

Ad alcuni pellegrini sloveni

Saluto cordialmente i partecipanti al Simposio scientifico teologico sul Servo di Dio Antonio Martino Slomsek, Vescovo di Maribor, il quale ha nel secolo scorso - è deceduto esattamente 120 anni fa - aperto un profondo solco per il rinnovamento spirituale e culturale del popolo sloveno nello spirito dei santi fratelli Cirillo e Metodio. Benedico i vostri sforzi con l’augurio che seguendo le orme dei vostri grandi maestri possiate costruire un felice futuro per la vostra Chiesa e per la Nazione.

Ai fedeli di lingua croata

Sia lodato Gesù e Maria!

Cari miei croati!

Saluto cordialmente i pellegrini da Makarska, venuti in questa Città santa in occasione dei festeggiamenti in onore di san Francesco, e che vogliono inoltre salutare il Santo Padre. Cercate di imitare lo spirito di san Francesco, specialmente la sua umiltà e fedeltà al Santo Padre. Il Papa benedice e prega per voi e per i vostri in patria.

Preghiera alla Madonna di Jasna Góra

O Pani Jasnogórska!

Również i dzisiaj pielgrzymuię do Twego Oblicza, którym po macierzyńsku patrzysz na synów i córki mojego Narodu. Dzielę troski tego Narodu.

Dzielę starania Biskupów polskich, którym znowu dali wspólny wyraz. Oto słowa opublikowane po ostatniej konferencji Episkopatu:

“. . . Jak dotąd nie podjęto właściwych kroków, mimo że ogromna większość społeczeństwa oczekuje porozumienia i ugody, a ludzie pracy pragną posiadać własne, niezależne przedstawicielstwa: związki zawodowe, w tym także Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy “Solidarność” i Niezależny Samorządny Związek Zawodowy “Solidarność Rolników Indywidualnych”. Również młodzież studiująca oczekuje odpowiedniej dla siebie organizacji.

W imię wspólnego dobra, w imię pomyślnej przyszłości i rozwoju naszego Państwa, które musimy chronić, trzeba wybrać drogę dialogu i współdziałania wszystkich sił społecznych i władzy państwowej; trzeba odrzucić drogę czystej negacji i nienawiści”.

O Pani Jasnogórska!

Jakże wielkie są doświadczenia i troski mojego Narodu! Jak wytrwąłe starania Kościoła w Polsce! Jak wielka odpowiedzialność wszystkich! Chodzi o to, co jest sprawiedliwością i ładem społecznym. Chodzi o to, by pokolenia mogły żyć prawdziwym i własnym życiem!

O Matko! Wyjednaj siłę do wytrwania! Wyjednaj zwycięstwo sumień!

Diamo una traduzione in italiano della preghiera in polacco del Santo Padre.

O Signora di Jasna Góra!

Anche oggi mi reco in pellegrinaggio al tuo Volto, col quale guardi maternamente i figli e le figlie della mia Nazione.

Condivido le preoccupazioni di questa Nazione. Condivido le sollecitudini dei Vescovi polacchi che insieme essi hanno manifestato. Ecco le parole pubblicate dopo la recente Conferenza Episcopale: “. . . fino adesso non sono stati intrapresi gli adeguati passi, nonostante la stragrande maggioranza della società attenda un’intesa ed un accordo, e gli uomini del lavoro desiderino avere le proprie ed indipendenti rappresentanze: i Sindacati fra i quali anche il Sindacato Autonomo Indipendente «Solidarnosc», ed il Sindacato Autonomo Indipendente «Solidarnosc» degli Agricoltori diretti. Anche la Gioventù che studia aspetta un’adeguata organizzazione:

Nel nome del bene comune, nel nome di un prospero futuro e sviluppo del nostro Paese, che dobbiamo proteggere, è necessario scegliere la via del dialogo e della cooperazione di tutte le forze sociali e delle autorità statali; è necessario respingere la via di una netta negazione e dell’odio”.

O Signora di Jasna Góra!

Quanto grandi sono le prove e le preoccupazioni della mia Nazione! Quanto costanti sono gli sforzi della Chiesa in Polonia! Quanto grande è la responsabilità di tutti. Si tratta della giustizia e dell’ordine sociale. Si tratta del fatto che le generazioni possano vivere una loro vera e propria vita!

O Madre! Ottieni forza e perseveranza!

Ottieni la vittoria delle coscienze!

A gruppi di fedeli italiani

Rivolgo ora un saluto particolarmente affettuoso ai sacerdoti della Confederazione dell’Oratorio di san Filippo Neri, convenuti a Roma per un loro Congresso Generale, destinato alla revisione delle proprie Costituzioni e dei propri Statuti.

Auspico che il Signore renda efficaci e salutari i vostri lavori per il bene di ciascun membro della vostra benemerita Confederazione, che prende ispirazione dalla luminosa figura del vostro Fondatore san Filippo Neri. Vi benedico tutti invocando l’aiuto del Signore affinché possiate vivere sempre nell’educazione dei giovani e nell’edificazione della Chiesa.

* * *

Un fervido pensiero va ora agli Allievi Ufficiali di complemento, i quali, a conclusione di un loro corso presso le Scuole di Motorizzazione di Roma, hanno voluto prendere parte a questa Udienza unitamente al loro Cappellano e ai loro rispettivi Comandanti.

Carissimi giovani militari, vi ringrazio per la spontanea manifestazione di fede cristiana. Vi dico semplicemente: siate sempre fieri della vostra appartenenza al Cristo e siate generosi e leali nel vostro servizio, che è una scuola, dove si apprende la scienza del dovere e del bene comune.

* * *

Desidero ora rivolgere un saluto particolare ai giovani presenti all’Udienza. Carissimi, l’età che state vivendo vi pone di fronte a molti interrogativi, per i quali non sempre, forse, sapete trovare una risposta soddisfacente. Ebbene, io vorrei intanto invitarvi a riflettere su di un fatto: voi possedete un grande tesoro, la gioventù appunto. Fate leva su questa meravigliosa risorsa, che Dio vi dona giorno per giorno e troverete in essa la spinta necessaria per affrontare i difficili problemi della vita, con merito e con frutto.

A voi tutti la mia benedizione.

* * *

Saluto poi gli ammalati, che sento tanto vicini al mio cuore, perché so quale posto essi hanno nel Cuore di Cristo. Carissimi, nell’esortarvi a non cedere allo scoraggiamento, ma a lottare contro la malattia per riconquistare la salute e la piena disponibilità di voi stessi, vorrei anche ricordarvi che la vostra attuale sofferenza ha un grande valore nel piano di Dio. Non sprecate una così preziosa ricchezza, ma mettetela a servizio dei fratelli accettandola con spirituale comunione con le sofferenze di Cristo ed affrontandola come personale contributo all’avvento del suo regno d’amore nel mondo. Vi sono vicino con la mia preghiera e vi benedico.

* * *

Vada anche uno speciale saluto agli Sposi novelli. Carissimi, nella vostra vita s’è aperta da poco una pagina bianca, ancor tutta da scrivere. Se quello che vi traccerete giorno per giorno, condividendo cristianamente gioie e dolori, rifletterà ciò che generosamente avete promesso davanti all’altare, la vostra unione matrimoniale non solo sarà benedetta da Dio, ma sarà anche fonte perenne di felicità e di grazia. È quanto vi auguro di cuore, mentre con affetto vi benedico.


1. In the Hebrew text we have the words hesed-rahamim, which appear together on more than one occasion.

2. Even though in the most ancient biblical books the word "redeemer" (Hebrew Go'el) signified the person bound by blood relationship to vindicate a relative who had been killed (cf. e.g., Nm 35:19), to help a relative who was unfortunate (e.g., Ru 4:6) and especially to ransom him from servitude (cf. e.g., Lv 25:48), with the passage of time this analogy was applied to Yahweh, "who redeemed Israel from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt" (Dt 7:8). Especially in Deutero-Isaiah the accent changes from the act of redemption to the person of the Redeemer, who personally saves Israel as though merely by his very presence, "not for price or reward" (Is 45:13).

Therefore the passage from the 'redeemer' of the prophecy of Isaiah chapter 54, to the Letter to the Ephesians, has the same motivation of the application, in the said letter, of the texts of the Canticle on the Servant of Yahweh (cf. Is 53:10-12; Eph 5:23, 25, 26).

3. In place of the relationship "God-Israel," Paul introduces the relationship "Christ-Church," by applying to Christ everything in the Old Testament that refers to Yahweh (Adonai-Kyrios). Christ is God, but Paul also applies to him everything that refers to the Servant of Yahweh in the four canticles (Is 42:49; 50; 52-53) interpreted in a Messianic sense in the intertestimentary period.

The motif of "head" and of "body" is not of biblical derivation, but is probably Hellenistic (Stoic?). In Ephesians this theme is utilized in the context of marriage (while in First Corinthians the theme of the "body" serves to demonstrate the order which reigns in society).

From the biblical point of view the introduction of this motif is an absolute novelty.

© Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana