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In Honor of the Apostle

{ Tags: \ Jul17 }

During this year of St. Paul I have resolved to include as part of the offerings of Res Biblica brief commentaries on the readings from the Pauline letters as they come up in the Sunday liturgy and — when possible — even during the daily mass. Below are the ones I have posted at Res Biblica and its subsites.

Colossians 1:15-20 Hymn To Christ Glorified | Lectio Divina
The hymn to Christ as we now find it incorporated in the letter has been studied by many well known scholars. A list is provided in M. Horgan’s commentary on Colossians (JBC, 879 col. 1). It is a consensus that the language of OT wisdom (Proverbs 8, specifically) pervades the hymn with some possible gnostic echoes and rewritten so as to fit Christian convictions about the pre-eminence of Christ and his role as head of a new creation. Christ is after all the Wisdom of God (cf. 1 Cor. 1:24), the Word through whom all things have been created (cf. John 1:1-4). He has inherited the name above every other name and before Him all bow in worship (Phil. 2:9-11). The hymn in Colossians however point out something more: His place in the new creation. …
Colossians 1:24-28 The Mystery That Is Christ | Otium Sanctum
In Colossians 1:24-28 Paul posits the thesis of the letter: the gospel as the revelation of the mystery that is Christ. The gospel that Paul preaches is the mystery hidden in the past but now made known. It is proclaimed that all men may become “mature” teleios in Christ. By that gospel too Paul rejoices inspite of his sufferings because he undergoes them in union with Christ and His Church.
Colossians 2:12-14 Being With Christ | Otium Sanctum

In these three verses, Paul depicts in a vivid way through the use of participial forms of the verb God’s action in uniting the Colossians with Christ who died and who rose to life. These passages seen within their immediate context say more: the Colossians, far from just being second-class citizens within the people of God — something that they would have been if they were part of Israel under the Mosaic law — are full members: they have been joined to Abraham through the circumcision of Christ.
Gal. 5:1-6:10|Freedom To Be Free | Lectio Divina

In other words, the Christian has been freed from the clutches of the flesh when he died to it in baptism. Baptized, he began to live in the Spirit of Christ which now must become the power that moves him. The Spirit is a spirit of freedom, not of “licentiousness” which is like freedom but is not. In the words of Paul, it is freedom used “as an opportunity for the flesh.” True freedom is in harmony with the status of the Christian whose life is lived in faith in Christ “who loved me and gave himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
Gal. 6:14-16 The Cross and the New Creation | Lectio Divina

In sum, the new creature — that is recreated humanity — is a product of the cross, “created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth”. The Christian then must take upon himself this new man consistent with his status of one who has been constituted heir to the promises of Abraham (Gal. 3:14) and a child of God (Gal. 4:6-7). It is this new creature that counts, not the foreskin that Judaizers are so concerned about (Gal. 5:2-6).
Eph. 1:3-14 "He Has Graced Us In The Beloved…" | Lectio Divina
the question “Did God choose me? To where am I predestined, heaven or hell?” shouldn’t even be asked. Paul was actually looking at his situation and the situation of all Christians, at how much grace they have received from God and thereby concludes that all these have been decided by God EVEN BEFORE any of them were born or created. The predestination in these verses then is RETROSPECTIVE rather than PROSPECTIVE, from the point of view of the Christian who is conscious of God’s grace, and not from that of a God imagined to be punitive. It is like the love affair of two persons who have been married to one another for seventy-five years: they gaze at each other with awe and ask how it has been possible that they stayed together while they’ve seen other marriages fall apart. One of them might even conclude: “From all eternity, we were made for each other.”

There are some other articles on Paul that I’ve posted during the past years. I’ll try to see whether I can still recover them. For now, I hope that the above list can be of help to those who wish to get to know him whom St. Augustine of Hippo fondly called “The Apostle”.

A printable (PDF) version of the links above is found here.

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