Tag Archives: Colossians

Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe: Cycle C

1st READING – 2 SAMUEL 5: 1-3

David was not perfect.  David was a sinner, yet he would be the one Israel would remember as leader of their splendid past.  Doesn’t that give us all hope?  God comes to us as we are and can create in us a light for the world, if we let God shine through us.

As a sense of messianic hope developed in Israel, it was logical that the messiah-to-be would be referred to as the Son of David.  This king is a ruler who is in solidarity with his people.   Thus, king as benevolent ruler and as shepherd are primary motifs in the first Old Testament theology of kingship (W&W, Birmingham, p. 540).

We are your “bone and flesh” – what is meant here?  Reflect on what it means for our messianic king to be bone and flesh WITH us…

2ND READING — COLOSSIANS 1: 12-20

This is from a Christian hymn probably used at baptisms.  What do some of these phrases mean to you . . .

Scholars suggest that this letter was written most likely in the 80’s A.D. in reaction to false teachers among the Christian groups.  Influenced by the Greek culture of their day, there were beliefs that regarded angels and other ‘spirits’ as rulers of the universe. They were associated with stars and new moons and pagan rituals. These people wanted Jesus to be seen as subordinate to these ‘deities,’ since by his incarnation they viewed him as being contaminated by human ‘flesh.’ This writer firmly tries to correct this view with imagery that is profound and beautiful.               (Celebration, Nov. 2001)

The word ‘transferred’ has a special purpose in this reading.  In the ancient world, when one empire won a victory over another, it was the custom to take the population of the defeated country and transfer it lock, stock and barrel to the conqueror’s land.  Thus the people of the northern kingdom were taken away to Assyria, and the people of the southern kingdom were taken away to Babylon.  So Paul says that God has transferred the Christian to his own kingdom.  From darkness to light…from slavery to freedom…from condemnation to forgiveness…from the power of Satan to the power of God  (Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, p. 111-112).

We must note that Paul says that in Christ God was reconciling all things to himself.  The Greek is a neuter (panta).  The point is that the reconciliation of God extends not only to all persons but to all creation, animate and inanimate.  The vision of Paul was a universe in which not only the people but the very things were redeemed.  The world is not evil.  It is God’s world and shares in the universal reconciliation (p. 123).  What a way to look at life!  This resonates so closely to what Pope Francis says in Laudato Si, “…all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things.  Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator,” (#83)  This is the kingdom of God!

THE GOSPEL — LUKE 23: 35-45

What two reactions to Jesus are seen here?  Who is the only one to call Jesus by name?  What does this mean to you?  How is this a story of conversion?  What kind of Kingship do we see here?

Jesus chose to exercise his authority as service and forgiveness. He reigns not from a throne, but from the cross. The Jesus who is worshipped today as Lord of lords and King of kings does not Lord it over others, but, rather, he loves and leads all who will follow him to the kingdom of eternal life, peace, and glory.    (Celebration, Nov. 2001)

The word ‘Paradise’ is a Persian word meaning a walled garden.  When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a companion of the garden, and he was chosen to walk in the garden with the king.  It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief.  He promised him the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven.  Surely this story tells us above all things that it is never too late to turn to Christ (Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, p. 299-300).

Christ the King was designated a holy day 1925 after World War I by Pope Pius XI.  There was a strong desire to remind Christians that their allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly kings and wealth  (Knipper, Hungry and You Fed Me, p. 287).  Don’t we always need to remember where our allegiance lies?

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

1st Reading – Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23

From http://www.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/online.html:  This is the only time that we read from this book at a Sunday liturgy, although we often hear from it at funerals: “For everything there is a season . . . “ (3:1). Qoheleth seems to be a collective name rather than a single person, a community’s voice expressing its wisdom.  Vanity for the writer is more like mist or smoke rather than the falseness of glamor.  The voice of the people is wondering about what life is really all about.  Do you ever have moments when you wonder too?                                                                                 The basic message is the old one of, “You can’t take it with you.” Instead of the meaning of the word “vanity” concerning superfluous clothes and cosmetics, I offer the word, “fragile” or “symbolic”. Everything is sacramental, that is leading beyond itself. The theme here is that what is, is, and will not be, very soon. This text is not meant to be a bucket of cold water, but a reflection upon the shortness of life’s span and even more deeply, a pointing to the possibility of a life beyond the fragile.

In growing up, I remember going to my mother a lot and saying, “That’s not fair!”  She would always reply, “Well, life isn’t fair!”  I never liked it when she said that, because there is no arguing with it.  It’s true, as much as we all wish it wasn’t.  Sometimes we work hard and things still don’t work out.  Sometimes we do nothing and everything is grand.  That is how life goes.  Qoheleth is saying get past this.  Treasure the love.  Treasure the good.

2nd Reading – Colossians 3: 1-5, 9-11

From Reginald Fuller, “Scripture in Depth” http://liturgy.slu.edu:

The dying that Colossians is referring to is the ‘dying’ of baptism. Once baptized we are to begin living ‘a new life’ – a life that is transformed already by the resurrection of Christ. Thinking of “what is above” is not some neo-Platonic escape from this present world – but a qualitatively transcendent way to life within the world. Our relation to God is not a ‘religious’ relationship to a Being that is up there and out there – rather our relation to God is a new life in ‘existence for others through participation in the being of Jesus (the Body of Christ) – the ‘man for others’ – the crucified/resurrected one (taken from thoughts from D. Bonhoeffer).

“Your life is hidden in Christ” and “When Christ your life appears”…what do you make of this?  We are not branded that we are Christian.  By looking at us, no one knows that we are followers of Christ.  But we hold this truth in our hearts.  Our belief may be hidden from view, but our actions will show it.  It is through our actions that we become the hands and feet of Christ.  So we are to turn away from that which keeps us from being more like Christ.  A lifetime job!  Paul says we need to put them to death, which is such strong language.  What do you think?  

The Gospel – Luke 12:13 – 21

How does this Gospel parable relate to the other readings we just heard?

Isn’t it interesting that right from the get-go, Jesus says he is not a judge?  What does that say about Jesus?  About how you relate to Jesus?  It was not uncommon for people in Palestine to take their unsettled disputes to respected Rabbis; but Jesus refused to be mixed up in anyone’s disputes about money.  But out of that request there came to Jesus an opportunity to lay down what His followers’ attitude to material things should be, those with abundance and those who had none  (Barclay’s Daily Study Bible series on Luke, p. 167).

Basil the Great (330-379) says of this story:

“But what do we find in this man? A bitter disposition – an unwillingness to give. He forgot that we all share the same nature. With all his wealth, he laments like the poor: what am I to do?  If you have wealth, recognize who has given you the gifts you have . . . you are the servant of the good God, a steward on behalf of other fellow servants. Do not imagine that everything has been provided for your own stomach.”  How different the story would be if this man had thought: I will enjoy what I have by sharing it. I will issue the generous invitation: Let anyone who lacks bread, come to me. We will share in the good things just as though we were drawing from a common well.   (“Thoughts from the Early Church”,  http://liturgy.slu.edu )

Living Liturgy, 2004, p.187:

All of these readings challenge us to a deeper surrender to the paschal mystery. Our ideal stands before us – the person of Christ. The word reminds us that we are the body of Christ and our mission is to heal the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and forgive those who injure us. We are called to say yes to the ideal. This ideal is not a set of directives but a living, breathing relationship to a Person who is calling us to die to self and live a life that is eternal.

Richard Rohr, The Good News According to Luke, p. 153-155:

Jesus’ message in today’s reading is: “Live now what matters in eternity.” Live on earth what’s happening in heaven. What would really matter to you if you knew you were to die tomorrow? To whom would you go with the words, “I’m sorry,” or “I love you,” or “I forgive you”? It is important to live what is truly important. It is a call to faith. Such faith is the opposite of anxiety. If we do not believe that God is for us, then we must be self-occupied. As soon as we stop believing in a loving God, we revert to ourselves. Jesus and his good news free us from groveling before God or trying to earn or manipulate God’s approval. We all have that approval already. We just need to live it – and share it.

Scripture Commentary for Christ the King, cycle C

1st READING – 2 SAMUEL 5: 1-3

David was not perfect.  David was a sinner, yet he would be the one Israel would remember as leader of their splendid past.  Doesn’t that give us all hope?  God comes to us as we are and can create in us a light for the world, if we let God shine through us.

As a sense of messianic hope developed in Israel, it was logical that the messiah-to-be would be referred to as the Son of David.  This king is a ruler who is in solidarity with is people.   Thus, king as benevolent ruler and as shepherd are primary motifs in the first Old Testament theology of kingship (W&W, Birmingham, p. 540).

We are your “bone and flesh” – what is meant here?  Reflect on what it means for our messianic king to be bone and flesh WITH us…

2ND READING — COLOSSIANS 1: 12-20

This is from a Christian hymn probably used at baptisms.  What do some of these phrases mean to you . . .

Scholars suggest that this letter was written most likely in the 80’s A.D. in reaction to false teachers among the Christian groups.  Influenced by the Greek culture of their day, there were beliefs that regarded angels and other ‘spirits’ as rulers of the universe. They were associated with stars and new moons and pagan rituals. These people wanted Jesus to be seen as subordinate to these ‘deities,’ since by his incarnation they viewed him as being contaminated by human ‘flesh.’ This writer firmly tries to correct this view with imagery that is profound and beautiful.               (Celebration, Nov. 2001)

The word ‘transferred’ has a special purpose in this reading.  In the ancient world, when one empire won a victory over another, it was the custom to take the population of the defeated country and transfer it lock, stock and barrel to the conqueror’s land.  Thus the people of the northern kingdom were taken away to Assyria, and the people of the southern kingdom were taken away to Babylon.  So Paul says that God has transferred the Christian to his own kingdom.  From darkness to light…from slavery to freedom…from condemnation to forgiveness…from the power of Satan to the power of God  (Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series, p. 111-112).

THE GOSPEL — LUKE 23: 35-45

What two reactions to Jesus are seen here?  Who is the only one to call Jesus by name?  What does this mean to you?  How is this a story of conversion?  What kind of Kingship do we see here?  Why does the Church give us this picture of Christ, the King?

Jesus chose to exercise his authority as service and forgiveness. He reigns not from a throne, but from the cross. The Jesus who is worshipped today as Lord of lords and King of kings does not Lord it over others, but, rather, he loves and leads all who will follow him to the kingdom of eternal life, peace, and glory.  (Celebration, Nov. 2001)

The word ‘Paradise’ is a Persian word meaning a walled garden.  When a Persian king wished to do one of his subjects a very special honor he made him a companion of the garden, and he was chosen to walk in the garden with the king.  It was more than immortality that Jesus promised the penitent thief.  He promised him the honored place of a companion of the garden in the courts of heaven.  Surely this story tells us above all things that it is never too late to turn to Christ (Barclay, The Gospel of Luke, p. 299-300).

Christ the King was designated a holy day 1925 after World War I by Pope Pius XI.  There was a strong desire to remind Christians that their allegiance was to their spiritual ruler in heaven as opposed to earthly kings and wealth  (Knipper, Hungry and You Fed Me, p. 287).  Don’t we always need to remember where our allegiance lies?