“STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND”
Meditation for Monday of the 23rd Week in Ordinary Time
(Col 1:24-23; Lk 6:6-11)
At this point, St Paul begins to use his own experience to exhort the Colossians. He talked about the value of the sufferings he bore for the sake of the Gospel among other things. “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh, I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body, that is, the Church.” St Paul associates his sufferings for the gospel to Jesus’ death and resurrection. He described himself as called by God to reveal the mysteries hidden for ages, but now revealed through Jesus Christ. He said categorically that in preaching the gospel, it is Jesus Christ we proclaim. St Paul said his intention is that they may be encouraged as they knit together in love, and “To have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
As the scribes and Pharisees opposed Jesus and tried to prevent Him from healing the man with withered hand on the Sabbath, so we encounter difficulties St Paul when we want to witness to the hidden mysteries in Jesus Christ through the gospel. Jesus called the man to the center, before the full view of His opponents, and asked, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to destroy it?” He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”
The hidden mysteries, power, understanding and knowledge in Jesus Christ is reveal through the Cross. So, when we encounter suffering or opposition in witnessing to the gospel, we connect them to the cross of Christ, from which flows the wellspring that builds up the Church. This is how we contribute to the salvation of mankind, and overcome the oppositions that try to prevent these hidden mysteries in Christ from being manifested in our lives.
Fr Jude Chinwenwa Nwachukwu, C.Ss.R
Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Church,
Tedi-Muwo, Ojo, Lagos.
Monday September 6th, 2021.