Father David's Reflection for Monday of Week Twenty-Three (Ordinary Time)
In Colossians 1:24 to 2:3, Paul reveals his longing to “make every human being complete (mature, perfect
in Christ” (Compare this to Ephesians 4:13: the “perfect man, who is Christ brought to full stature”).
The vision that guides Paul’s labor is “fullness.” “In Christ all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.... in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have come to fullness in him.” God’s “plan for the fullness of time” is to “gather up all things in him....” When the “fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman....” Jesus continues in the Church, which is “his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Paul wants us to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge,” so that we may be “filled with all the fullness of God.” Jesus ascended into heaven “so that he might fill all things.” When he returns, on the “day of Christ,” we will be “filled with the fruit of righteousness... for the glory and praise of God” (see Ephesians 1:10, 23; 3:19; 4:10, 13; Colossians 1:9, 19; 2:9-10; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 1:9-10).
Paul sees this fullness realized in the Christ of the “end time,” when all creation is brought to the fullness of the transcendent glory of life and being “in Christ.” These words plunge us into the mystery which capsulizes everything Paul preached: “this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” He labors to help every believer enter into “the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself.” Everything is Jesus, from beginning to end. Not surprising, since Jesus is “the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” This perspective rules the Rite of Communion (Revelation 22:13).
The Mass places us in the “end time” from its very first words, invoking the “name” of the Trinity: “Father, Son and Spirit.” The Gloria proclaims Christ “seated at the right hand of the Father.” In the Profession of Faith” we “look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.” In the Presentation of Gifts we affirm that the created bread we put on the altar “will become for us the Bread of life.” We enter into the Eucharistic Prayer in company with “the Angels and all the Saints” who in heaven are singing “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory.” In the Acclamation after the “Consecration” (Institution Narrative), “We remember Christ’s death... proclaim his Resurrection (and Ascension) as we await his coming in glory.” Four moments seen as one. In the Anamnesis we again unite the memorial of Christ’s “blessed Passion, Resurrection... and glorious Ascension into heaven.” This anticipation of the “end time” is the guiding focus of the Rite of Communion. And should be of Labor Day. This is the goal of all human enterprise.
In Luke 6:6-11 Jesus gives again the rule of all pastoral ministry: To those whose rigidity kills, he says: “Stretch out your hearts. Feed my sheep!”
Action: Live in two dimensions: time and eternity.