At one of my parish internships, half the people seemed to come to Mass after the first reading. The deacon and I joked that it was because nobody got the first reading. We were being snarky. But the first reading can feel a little random.
This Sunday’s first reading (Proverbs) looks like an allegory, and it kind of feels random. But it’s not really an allegory. Or random. It’s actually a promise - that gets fulfilled in Sunday’s Gospel.
The epistle (Ephesians) also points to the Gospel, but in a different way. The first reading is promise, the epistle is preparation. Personal preparation.
Paul knows exactly what Jesus is saying in the Gospel (John). But Paul is just as flawed as we are, and knows that if our lives are full of stupid stuff, we will miss what Jesus wants to give us. Which is why Paul is all do’s and don’ts.
Paul wants to help us make room to receive what Jesus wants to give us. And the effort? It’s more than worth it.