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2 posted on 09/06/2011 7:12:20 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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From: Colossians 3:1-11

Seek the Things That Are Above


[1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above,
where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Avoid Sin


[2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3]
For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who
is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. [5] Put to death
therefore what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and
covetousness, which is idolatry. [6] 0n account of these the wrath of God is co-
ming. [7] In these you once walked, when you lived in them. [8] But now put
them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.
[9] Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its
practices [10] and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in know-
ledge after the image of its creator. [11] Here there cannot be Greek and Jew,
circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but
Christ is all, and in all.

*********************************************************************************************
Commentary:

1-4. The more ethical and exhortatory part of the letter begins at this point. It is
a practical application of the teaching given in the earlier chapters, designed to
suit the circumstances that have arisen in the Colossian church.

By His death and resurrection the Son of God frees us from the power of Satan
and of death. “By Baptism men are grafted into the paschal mystery of Christ;
they die with him, are buried with Him, and rise with Him” (Vatican II, “Sacro-
sanctum Concilium”, 6). In other words, Christians have been raised to a new
kind of life, a supernatural life, whereby they share, even while on earth, in the
glorious life of the risen Jesus. This life is at present spiritual and hidden, but
when our Lord comes again in glory, it will become manifest and glorious.

Two practical consequences flow from this teaching — the need to seek the
“things that are above”, that is, the things of God; and the need to pass un-
noticed in one’s everyday work and ordinary life, yet to do everything with a
supernatural purpose in mind.

As regards the first of these the Second Vatican Council has said: “In their pil-
grimage to the Heavenly city Christians are to seek and relish the things that
are above (cf. Colossians 3:1-2): this involves not a lesser, but a greater com-
mitment to working with all men to build a world that is more human” (”Gaudium
Et Spes”, 57). Work, family relationships, social involvements — every aspect of
human affairs — should be approached in a spirit of faith and done perfectly, out
of love: “The true Christian, who acts according to this faith”, St. Escriva com-
ments, “always has his sights set on God. His outlook is supernatural. He
works in this world of ours, which he loves passionately; he is involved in all its
challenges, but all the while his eyes are fixed on Heaven” (”Friends of God”,
206).

Ordinary life, everyday interests, the desire to be better and to serve others
without seeking public recognition of one’s merits — all this makes for holiness
if done for love of God. A simple life “hid with Christ in God” (verse 3) is so im-
portant that Jesus Himself chose to spend the greater part of His life on earth li-
ving like an ordinary person: He was the son of a tradesman. “As we meditate
on these truths, we come to understand better the logic of God. We come to
realize that the supernatural value of our life does not depend on accomplishing
great undertakings suggested to us by our over-active imagination. Rather it is
to be found in the faithful acceptance of God’s will, in welcoming generously the
opportunities for small, daily sacrifice” (St. J. Escriva, “Christ Is Passing By”,
172).

This means that those who try to seek holiness by imitating Jesus in His hid-
den life will be people full of hope; they will be optimistic and happy people; and
after their death they will share in the glory of the Lord: they will hear Jesus’
praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little;
I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your Master” (Matthew 25:21).

On the value of the hidden life, see the note on Luke 2:15.

5-17. The Christian, who in Baptism has risen with Christ, should not live for
himself but for God. This means that every day he needs to put off his old na-
ture and put on the new.

The “old nature”, the “old man”: one who lets himself be led by disorderly pas-
sions (cf. Rom 7:8), who lets his body do evil in the service of sin (v. 5; cf. Rom
6:12f). With the help of grace the old nature is being more and more broken
down, while the new nature is constantly being renewed (cf. 2 Cor 6:16). Impuri-
ty and the other vices need to be uprooted so as to make room for goodness
and its train of Christian virtues (vv. 12-13), especially charity (v. 14), which are
features of the new nature.

Christ’s disciple, who has been made a new person and who lives for the Lord,
has a new and more perfect knowledge of God and of the world (v. 10). Thanks
to this he see things from a more elevated viewpoint; he has a “supernatural in-
sight”. This enables him to love and understand everyone without distinction of
race, nation or social status (v. 11), and to imitate Christ, who has given himself
up for all. “The Only-begotten of the Eternal Father vouchsafed to become a son
of man, that we might be made conformable to the image of the Son of God and
be renewed according to the likeness of him who created us. Therefore let all
those who glory in the name of Christians not only look upon our divine Savior
as the most sublime and most perfect model of all virtues, but also, by the care-
ful avoidance of sin and the unremitting practice of holiness, so reproduce in
their conduct his teaching and life, that when the Lord appears they may be like
to him in glory, seeing him as he is (cf. 1 Jn 3:2)” (Pius XII, “Mystici Corporis”,
20).

*********************************************************************************************
Source: “The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries”. Biblical text from the
Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries by members of
the Faculty of Theology, University of Navarre, Spain.

Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland, and
by Scepter Publishers in the United States.


3 posted on 09/06/2011 7:16:30 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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