September 7, 2021. Tuesday of Week 23 in Ordinary Time

Tuesday, September 7 2021

Week 23 in Ordinary Time

1st Reading: Colossians 2:6-15

Spiritually, baptism “buries” us with Christ and raises us to live in and with him

As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. In him also you were circumcised with a spiritual circumcision, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ; when you were buried with him in baptism, you were also raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and the un-circumcision of your flesh, God made you alive together with him, when he forgave us all our trespasses, erasing the record that stood against us with its legal demands. He set this aide, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.

Responsorial: Psalm 144:1-2, 8-11

R./: The Lord is compassionate to all his creatures.

I will give you glory, O God my King,
I will bless your name for ever.
I will bless you day after day
and praise your name for ever. (R./)
The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures. (R./)
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord,
and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign
and declare your might, O God. (R./)

Gospel: Luke 6:12-19

Jesus spends the night in prayer and afterwards calls the twelve

Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the whole night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and his brother Andrew, and James, and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James son of Alphaeus, and Simon, who was called the Zealot, and Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.
He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon. They had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all in the crowd were trying to touch him, for power came out from him and healed all of them.

Keep to the basics

While later in Colossians Paul will offer more detailed moral guidance, in chapter 2 he traces the underlying principle of Christian life. He is concerned about them possibly losing touch with their allegiance of faith, or “not holding fast to the head” (vs 19) and letting some other guru take the place of Christ as their leader.
The precise nature of the threat to the Colossian community is not spelled out. We get some hints, however, that resemble some temptations faced by the church today, namely, dualism, and idolatry. He warns them not be taken captive through philosophy and empty deceit. Probably this to some severe regime of bodily asceticism. It seems like a spirituality of self-imposed piety, and the severe treatment of the body” (vs 23). It sounds like a form of dualism whereby the body was thought to belong to a lower realm than soul, spirituality, esoteric wisdom, and the like.
Against this Paul declares that false asceticism does not really curb the appetites of the body. And he offers them deeper insight into Jesus Christ, the embodiment of God’s wisdom and life in this world. Turning the basic tenet of dualism on its head he writes that in Jesus “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him”. Later, Saint John will put this insight even more memorably, saying the “the Word became flesh and lived among us, that we may be children of God. Our basic vocation is to stay close to Christ and let him be the impulse for all that we do.

The healing touch

Notice the last line in this gospel, “everyone in the crowd was trying to touch him because power came out of him that cured them all” People wanted to touch this man through whom God was working so powerfully. It wasn’t just enough to hear him or to see him; they needed to touch him. Touching the Lord is a more intimate, a more personal, form of communication with him than hearing or seeing. The sense of touch remains important in the faith life of us all. We too want to touch the Lord, and to be touched by him.
It is above all in and through the Sacraments that we touch the Lord and allow him to touch our lives. In the Eucharist, for example, we take the bread in our hands or on our tongue and eat it; we take the chalice in our hands and drink from it. The sense of touch is very real there. As we take the bread and take the cup, as we touch the Lord in this way, the Lord takes us; he touches our lives. Like the people in the gospel, we too can experience the healing and renewing power that comes from him. The Lord who touches us in the Eucharist sends us forth to touch the lives of others in life-giving ways.


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