Monday of the Twenty-ThirdWeek in Ordinary Time
The mystery revealed to Paul
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church, of which I am a minister in accordance with God’s stewardship given to me to bring to completion for you the word of God, the mystery hidden from ages and from generations past. But now it has been manifested to his holy ones, to whom God chose to make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; it is Christ in you, the hope for glory. It is he whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. For this I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me. For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you. Col 1,24-2,1
In this passage from the Letter to the Colossians, Paul reveals the “The mystery hidden from ages and generations past”. This is the mystery: Christ died and resurrected for all mankind, both for the Jews and the Gentiles. “It is him – Paul says – whom we proclaim, admonishing everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”. That is, man and women of every race and every time reach their perfection more closely the more they make progresses in their faith in Jesus Christ and they put to follow him on a human and Christian road. This is the mystery that our Lord had not revealed to anyone else before Paul so clearly. Maybe, the prophet Isaiah had caught glimpses of something, when he spoke of the servant of Yahweh: “We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all”(Is 53, 6). It is amazing that Christ died on the Calvary to save “us all”, man and women of every place and every time. It is a mystery of love to be contemplated in silence, worshipping the cross, because it is from there that the impulse to evangelization has risen. “For this – Paul says – I labor and struggle, in accord with the exercise of his power working within me”. It is the battle for the announcement of the gospel. Today, Paul anticipates a side of this mystery, which deals with the church and every Christian: “For I want you to know how great a struggle I am having for you”. The mission is a commitment, and sometimes suffering, but it is the highest form of love we can give to others. It is a mystery about which we wanted to talk, led by Paul, because, knowing it, we can take with joy the load of every day’s small crosses, through which we become Christ’s “co-redeemers”, for the benefit of those we meet on our journey.