The "TEA BAG" WAY OF LIFE
- a reflection on Colossians 2:6-15
by Deacon Paul Rooney
Some of you who know me well already know that St. Paul's letter to the Colossians is one of my favorite letters. Whenever I use it for lectio divina, I always think of that old song, "June is busting out all over" – because that is what happens in my heart!
When I taught Colossians in the Omaha Catholic Biblical School, I always told the class that if I had to pick just one epistle of St. Paul to use to evangelize my own teenagers and my fellow-workers, then this would probably be the one! Of course, I’d have to paraphrase it and use modern lingo, but the principles are clear. I find St. Paul's letter to the Colossians to be a mini-catechism, and perhaps my most favorite of all of St. Paul's letters. It is a call to cling to the gospel truth, the message of our Lord Jesus Christ! Nothing else matters; all else that opposes His message is a lie. In one way the Letter is rather dry reading; but if you try to get inside St. Paul's head, the message can become exciting. In a quick summary, here is what Paul is saying to the Colossians:- Let the gospel become embedded in your daily life;
- A new lifestyle is demanded if you embrace Christianity;
- You must bear fruit, i.e., share unconditional love;
- Be joyful and thankful, for you have been saved by Jesus Christ!
- Discover in Jesus what "becoming fully human" means.
So in today's reading (Tuesday, September 10), St. Paul says in part: "So...walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (v. 6b-7). I personally like to call this Letter to the Colossians "my tea bag way of life." Just like St. Paul suggests, I want to become "steeped" in the gospel words of life and become one with Jesus, just as a tea bag is steeped in hot water until the tea becomes one with the water. It is the only way to avoid false teachings, especially the subtle undermining of the gospel truth that pervades the various means of communication in our society. He died for you and me, to bring this truth to us out of a heart overflowing with love. Now he wants you and me to pass on that truth and love.
I think the image says it all. It is our call: become steeped in Jesus Christ!
- Deacon Paul Rooney