Thursday of week 22 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on Col 1:9-14

Paul continues from yesterday’s reading his words of praise and encouragement for the Christians of Colossae.
Moved by Epaphras’ account, Paul has prayed fervently for the Colossians that their response to the gospel may bring the fullest knowledge of God’s will, “through perfect wisdom and spiritual insight”. He expects a mutual interaction between their life according to the gospel and this knowledge, which will reveal the power of God’s presence among them, encourage them to courage and calm determination, and result in grateful love of the Father for his saving gifts. For the Father conquers the power of evil over men by offering them the power of his Son, who is his love in person and has already forgiven their sins. (NAB)
Following on what Paul has heard from Epaphras about the strong faith of the Colossians, he makes a beautiful prayer on their behalf. We will lay it out here in a way that will make it easier for us to see its contents. It is a prayer that we can make for ourselves and for other people. Let us hear Paul saying this prayer for each one of us:
We ask that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding
you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will
and so be able to lead a life worthy of the Lord,
a life acceptable to him in all its aspects,
bearing fruit in every kind of good work
and growing in knowledge of God,
fortified, in accordance with his glorious strength, with all power
always to persevere and endure,
giving thanks with joy to the Father
who has made you able to share the lot of God’s holy people
and with them to inherit the light,
because of what he has done.
It is he who has rescued us from the ruling force of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of the Son that he loves,
and in him we enjoy our freedom, the forgiveness of sin.
This is a prayer we can take line by line, stopping at any word or phrase which we find particularly meaningful or relevant to our own life and just stop there for a while – or even make that word or phrase the subject of our whole prayer.
Some comments on phrases used in the prayer:
The knowledge of his will: scriptural knowledge is not merely the possession of facts, knowing a lot about the Bible. Rather, knowledge and wisdom in the Bible are concerned with the inner meaning of every passage and how it touches on living a Christ-filled life.
The lot of God’s holy people: The ‘lot of the saints’ (lit. hagioi, ‘, ‘holy ones’) is what all holy people are to inherit, i.e. the ‘salvation’ that originally had been thought of as a bequest made exclusively to the Chosen People of Israel. Now, with the coming of Jesus, non-Jews are called to share it.
To inherit the light: symbolises holiness, truth, love, glory and life. Accordingly, God, Christ and the Christian are all characterised by light. The “kingdom of light” is the opposite of the “dominion of darkness”.
Kingdom: does not here refer to a territory but to the authority, rule or sovereign power of a king (Greek, basileia, , meaning ‘reign’ or ‘kingship’). Here it means that the Christian is no longer under the dominion of evil (darkness) but under the loving rule of God’s Son. To be in the ‘Kingdom’ is to be closely united to God in being the kind of person he wants to us to be and to be in cooperative union with others who are also that kind of person.
What more could we ask for than a full knowledge of God’s will and to be filled with wisdom and spiritual insight? It is a prayer we need to make in some form every day of our lives. Only then will we “lead a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing to him in every way”.
Let us then today thank God for all that he has done for us through Jesus Christ and the Christian community to which we belong.
Let us pray that we grow in knowledge and wisdom and insight so that we may love and serve him more and more.

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