Saturday of week 22 of Ordinary Time – First Reading


Commentary on Col 1:21-23

This brief reading follows immediately on yesterday’s triumphant hymn in praise of Christ, head of all creation and head of his body, the Church.
Having said in yesterday’s passage that Christ had reconciled the whole world to himself and brought peace by his death on the cross, Paul reminds the Colossians that they themselves have experienced the reconciling effect of Christ’s death, and appeals to them to adhere firmly to him as their only mediator with God.
“You were once estranged and of hostile intent through your evil behaviour; now he has reconciled you, by his death and in that mortal body, to bring you before himself holy, faultless and irreproachable.”
Paul rejoices that the Colossians are among those who, once alienated from God by a pagan and sinful life, have now been reconciled and united with him through the death of Jesus. That “mortal body” is that of his Son (lit. ‘flesh body’). This provides the locus where reconciliation takes place. Into this body the entire human race is effectively gathered. This is beautifully put in the Letter to the Ephesians where it says that Jesus, through his death, broke down the divisions and brought peace and reconciliation between Jews and Gentiles, creating a single new Person (Eph 2:14ff). This work has to continue between peoples everywhere. Our world today is riven with divisions.
This state of peace and reconciliation will only continue “as long as you persevere and stand firm on the solid base of the faith”.
They can now stand before God “holy, pure and blameless”, provided they remain true to the foundation of their faith and keep close to the hope engendered by the Gospel message. It is a message that is extended to the whole world and Paul is its servant.
We, too, need to remain faithful to the Gospel message we have received through Christ and his Church. We, too, are called, like Paul, to be its servant and to be agents of peace and reconciliation in every area where we discern harmful divisions between peoples and groups. “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.”

 

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