Sun, 13 December 2020
The Reading from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Colossians. (3:4-11)
Brethren, when Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
St. Augustine: But what did he go on to say? “When Christ appears, your life, then you also will appear with him in glory.” So now is the time for groaning, then it will be for rejoicing; now for desiring, then for embracing. What we desire now is not present; but let us not falter in desire; let long, continuous desire be our daily exercise, because the one who made the promise doesn’t cheat us.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
St. Athanasius: But the saints, and they who truly practice virtue, “mortify their members” and as the result of this, are pure and without spot, confiding in the promise of our Savior, who said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” These, having become dead to the world, who have renounced the merchandise of the world, gain an honorable death.
St. Jerome: In a general way all that is of the devil is characterized by hatred for God. What is of the devil is idolatry, since all idols are subject to him. Yet Paul elsewhere lays down the law in express terms, saying: “Mortify your members.” Idolatry is not confined to casting incense upon an altar with finger and thumb or to pouring libations of wine out of a cup into a bowl.
On account of these, the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience. In these you once walked, when you lived in them.
But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator.
Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.
St. John Chrysostom: Now what Paul wishes to say is that there is no benefit in those things, for all those things fall apart, unless they are done with love. This is the love that binds them all together. Whatever good thing it is that you mention, if love be absent, it is nothing, it melts away. The analogy is like a ship; though its rigging be large, yet if it lacks girding ropes, it is of no service. Or it is similar to a house; if there are no tie beams, of what use is the house? Think of a body. Though its bones be large, if it lacks ligaments, the bones cannot support the body. In the same way, whatever good our deeds possess will vanish completely if they lack love.
Gorday, P. (Ed.). (2000). Colossians, 1–2 Thessalonians, 1–2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon (p. 49). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.