I Colossians 2:6-15
The apostle Paul, having expressed his love for and joy in the Colossian believers in the first chapter, now cautions against the errors of heathen philosophy, against Jewish traditions that interfere with true faith in Christ and against worshiping angels and other heavenly powers. In his arguments, Paul makes an interesting statement: "Even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, Jesus brought you to life along with him." The gifts of faith and eternal life are not dependent upon the purity of our life or religious rituals. "But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). If Jesus brings us to new life along with him, in spite of our sins and weaknesses, how do we stay "along with him."
Turning to the Gospel we can understand a little more about this indispensable relationship. Jesus himself was doing the will of God. In order to fulfill that will, Jesus had to be "along" with his Father. Luke’s gospel tells us Jesus went up a mountain to pray and spend the night there in prayer to God. We might wonder what Jesus had to prayer about for so long of a time. This question reveals a limited understanding of prayer. It is not just a time of asking for this or that. It is more than just a religious duty of "saying our prayers." Prayer is ultimately making contact with God. Jesus wanted, needed, to be in contact with his Father in a simple relationship of presence, silence and listening with a quiet and open heart. Prayer was the one way of making sure that there was harmony with his Father’s will.
Our invitation today is to take time for this kind of quiet prayer, prayer with an open heart. Building a relationship with Jesus in prayer will enable us to be "along with" Jesus and in harmony with his will.
Fr. Don Webber, C.P., is Provincial Superior of Holy Cross Province and resides in Chicago.