September 6, 2017

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time [I]
Colossians 1:1-8  +  Luke 4:38-44

…we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus….

Today the Church at weekday Mass begins to proclaim Saint Paul’s Letter to the Colossians.  We will hear from this letter over the next eight days, and will hear from the first three of its four chapters.

Most of St. Paul’s letters have introductions similar to one another, following a format that was common in Paul’s day for letter-writing.  But with greater scrutiny we notice unique touches with which Paul foreshadows the kernel of each letter.  One of these touches that he paints in today’s reading evokes the three divine virtues.

Paul says to the Colossians:  “we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the holy ones because of the hope reserved for you in Heaven.”  Paul is writing in this letter to commend the Colossians, yet also to caution them in light of temptations to not focus their lives on Christ.  Here at the beginning of the letter Paul is praising the Colossians at the same time he illustrates the reason that they might be commended.

For each of us, also, there is a need to grow closer to Christ, and to leave aside false hopes, empty loves, and blinding faith.  Christ is the means by which to grow in authentic faith, hope and love.  Christ is the fulfillment of all three:  the love of the Father, into the depths of which the Father wants us to enter.

St. Paul statue at Vatican