We’ve been hearing over these Sundays a semi-continuous reading of the Letter to the Colossians. Contemporary scripture scholars hold that Saint Paul may not be the author of this letter, yet it is still classified as one of the “Captivity Epistles.” Paul wrote letters to Christian communities during the three years he was serving house arrest in Rome between 60 and 62 A.D. [Besides Colossians, the other ones are Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon.] The Letter to the Colossians has been a particularly rich epistle for me in my spiritual growth. While on sabbatical in Rome in Fall 2016, I visited the church that was built where traditional holds Paul was under house arrest. It was a powerful experience to be there!
Today’s passage (Col 3:1-5, 9-11) is one of my favorites. The first several verses we also hear on Easter Sunday morning. The final verses in today’s reading are its application. Paul, being the good preacher that he is, tells his audience how to live in Christ, for He lives in us. Put away all earthly desires and passions – “immorality, impurity, passion, evil desires and the greed that is idolatry;…stop lying to one another.” Oh how we need to hear these words today!
If Paul did write this epistle, the reason seems obvious enough from the letter itself. False teachers have corrupted the message of the Gospel and, whoever the author is wants the Christians in first century Colossae to get back to their foundations. What was happening over 1900 years ago is still happening today. We have to be on guard against those who would water down our Faith. Make a commitment to continue to grow in knowledge and practice of our Catholic Faith so that all falsehoods and skepticism will be removed.