The Second reading at Mass yesterday, Sunday, the 17th Sunday of Ordinary Time, was a further reading from the Letter to the Colossians.
In the brief passage Paul speaks of the extraordinary effect of Christ’s Passion and Resurrection, the Paschal Mystery – and of our sharing in that Mystery through our baptism.
Death and Life each have the appearance of the other, but only that life that is entered into through a sharing in the death of Christ is real, is lasting. Life as the world knows it leads only to death. And with the new life comes freedom beyond the law: the law was to help to life with God but again and again the law fails, or we it. Only in and with Christ is life, eternal life, ours.
You have been buried with Christ, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. You were dead, because you were sinners and had not been circumcised: he has brought you to life with him, he has forgiven us all our sins.
He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross.
The new life in Christ is not stained or diminished by our past sins, but our present sins place it in jeopardy, for they strain and test the authenticity of our life in Christ. His mercy is for us still, but without our repentance and our desire for change and renewal in Christ, our seeming health can be only a mask and deceit. Closeness to Christ in prayer, through word and Sacrament, is something we need to work to sustain. To this too he helps us; in these gifts he makes it possible for us to approach him and live in him still.
- What appears of life in you, but masks sin and death?
- How does the life-giving death of Christ manifest itself in your life?
- Where/how, today, will you renew your communion with Christ?
Tabernacle in the Hidden Gem Church, Manchester. (c) 2016, Allen Morris. The image of the pelican feeding its young with its blood is a potent symbol for Christ our Mother.