Saturday of the Twenty-SecondWeek in Ordinary Time
Astrology and fatalism
And you who once were alienated and hostile in mind because of evil deeds he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded, stable, and not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, am a minister. Col 1,21-23
Paul has never been to Colossae, a city devoted to commerce, located on a road junction in Southern Phrygia, close to Achaea. The founder of that community was Epaphras, a rich merchant who had met Paul at Ephesus, probably during one of his business travels, and had converted. Epaphras has always kept in touch with Paul, to whom he often asked for doctrinal and practical advice to guide the church at Colossae. In that community, a certain Gnostic movement had begun to spread, which gave great prominence to the “angelic” Powers, regarded as necessary connecting links between men and God, and which were credited a great influence on the cosmos, especially on the stars and their influence in men’s life. These are problems which, nowadays, are being created by astrologers, magicians and fortune tellers, who lead the weakest people to “fatalism” and “Predeterminism”, belittling Jesus Christ’s redemptive power completely.
In today’s reading, Paul claims the Lord’s full universal prominence against this subtle error, both on the plan of creation and on the redemption one. Paul reminds the Christians of the community in Colossae what spiritual poverty Christ has taken them off by the sacrifice of his death on the Cross: “he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through his death, to present you holy, without blemish, and irreproachable before him, provided that you persevere in the faith, firmly grounded”. Even today, unfortunately, many people lose, almost unconsciously, their faith in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ, because they surrender to the fatalism of astrologers, magicians and fortune tellers, who work only for their own sake.