Christ 24×7- Wednesday, 23rd week in ordinary time- St Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3: 1- 11

Christ 24×7- Wednesday, 23rd week in ordinary time- St Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3: 1- 11

You are invited to read the text before you read the reflection.

A modern day parable often told is that of a man searching for a lost wrist watch under a street light. He does so, merely because there is light on this street and not on the street where he lost his wrist watch. All this may sound bizarre but then again that’s the purpose of a parable. And how bizarre is it when we search for God in places He does not exist, just because the world flashes a light in these places?

St Paul, in writing to the new converts in Colossae, makes precisely this point. If our sight is not set heavenwards, then we will seek the fleeting happiness that the world has to offer; fleeting happiness that is often offered in religious fads masquerading as faith, with smart lines like, “I am spiritual but not religious.” It is for this reason that we don’t find what we are looking for because we are either looking in the wrong place, or in the wrong person.

St Paul wants us to analyse our new reality and therefore our new conduct. The springboard for this understanding is in 3:1; “So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above where Christ is.” The community at Colossae had now taken on a new persona, a new life in Christ. They had, in Paul’s words, “clothed themselves with new selves”. Their new reality was simply this, that they were raised with Christ who is now their life; therefore their new conduct must match this high calling.

In order to embrace their new reality, the Colossians (and us) must first “put to death” earthly desires. Paul has an interesting choice of words when he says ‘put to death’. Following Christ must be a clean break from our former ways, a separation like that brought by death. Look what the hankering for the ‘flesh pots of Egypt’ led the Israelites to. The Israelites still desired the ‘good life’ of Egypt but also wanted the freedom that God wanted for them. God wanted a freedom for them to worship Him. They just wanted to be free! The results of this dithering and desiring of their old life, led them to worship a golden calf.

I have often held that seminaries and novitiates make the mistake of believing that they are principally houses of formation. Their assumption is that St Paul’s words to the Colossians in 3:1 is accomplished fully in the candidate before they join. Seminaries must, to my mind, be homes of deformation; a putting to death to former ways and ideas of the candidate. It is then that they can truly achieve the formation they desire for true reformation to kick in. Even then, as St Paul will say, the Colossians, and for that matter we, must constantly seek; for finding Christ is a continuous Christian calling.

The Colossians are called to a higher standard of life, a new conduct that not only puts to death the more grievous sins like ‘fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire and greed’, but also the little ones which we often self-condone; sins like ‘wrath, malice, slander, lies and abusive language’.

The Colossians were being invited to a higher calling; one where Christ is their life 24×7.

Fr Warner D’Souza

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2 thoughts on “Christ 24×7- Wednesday, 23rd week in ordinary time- St Paul’s letter to the Colossians 3: 1- 11”

  • Loved the connection of the parable. Thanks for the insights. Just finished teaching Letters of St. Paul to kids. Planning to revise. This helps a lot 😉

  • You have everything when you have Christ is what we sing with great conviction. But we are so filled with what the world has to offer. We need to empty ourselves to refill unlearn to learn and that is the real formation . So true what you say.


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