Scripture: Lectionary 433. Sept.3. Colossians 1:1-8. Psalm 52:10.11. Luke 4:38-48:
We start the liturgical reading with the opening of Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians. Again, the address , the thanksgiving give us the prayer of Paul for the believers in that community. We always have a resource for our personal prayers when we feel dry in prayer by turning to the first chapters of Paul’s epistles. In the Thanksgiving part which follows immediately after the address to a particular community we have both his prayer and a lead into the theme of the epistle. Colossians will take us into the realm of philosophy during the time of Paul, but we are not interested in that for our meditation. If you happen to be interested in it, then, study the Stoicism and Neo-Platonism philosophers for understanding some of the passages within Paul in this letter. But this would take you away from prayer and meditating on what Paul says in the Thanksgiving part!
We appreciated what Paul offered to us in page after page in I Thessalonians as he encouraged the people to grow in the strong faith and make it even more effective through hope and love. The same sentiments are felt in what Paul is now saying to a different group or community of believers in Colossians.
Paul does claim to be an apostle though he never met Jesus except in a post-resurrection appearance that led him to conversion. The other eleven already have added the twelfth apostle (“The choice fell to Matthias who was added to the eleven apostles” Luke 1:26. Let us remember that Jesus is THE APOSTLE who was sent from the Father as we learn in John’s Gospel. He is our source for what it means to be an apostle in the fullest sense in the mystery of his Incarnation—being born of Mary and lived among us for our salvation by his suffering, death, and resurrection.
We have moved already for the second day into the Gospel of Luke after having completed the readings from Matthew. Our Gospel for today gives us the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law who by her rising from her sickness symbolizes the resurrection and by her ministering to Jesus and his apostles, the role of service for other from which the word deacon serves as the foundation for serving others in the community in a practical way. It is a beautiful account from Luke of Jesus beginning ministry of healing. After this incident Luke gives us a summary statement of Jesus’ healing power. He then moves on to other towns and villages to continue his ministry of teaching, preaching, exorcizing, and healing all sorts of illnesses.
Lord, heal us from our own limits, our anxieties, fears, and doubts. We are often sick either in spirit, mind, or body and we need your help just as much as the people in Galilee did. Help us to be like Peter’s mother-in-law who rose up from her illness through the healing hands of Jesus and then ministered to his friends. May we also become “wounded-healers” through what we suffer and have endured from past sufferings and make of those limitations sources of strength for others. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.