Colossians 1:1-8; Ps 50 I trust in the mercy of God forever; Luke 4:38-44
As we read today's first letter the first question that comes to my mind is, "Who is that?"
Paul and Timothy write this letter to this community of faith gathered in Colossae.
Perhaps the community consist of maybe a dozen or so men and women who have accepted the message of the gospel. It is small by today's standard. Nonetheless, it seems an important enough place that warrants a letter from St Paul and St Timothy.
It seems teachers have arrived on the scene that have given themselves authority they do not have and taught things were not theirs to teach.
We see this all the time. So many people in our society want everyone to believe they are infallible in regards to their understanding and often times this leads to weird and bizarre teachings especially in regards to Christ and his church.
This is why there so many 'denominations' in our society today. Every tom and Harriet out there thinks they are fit for the job when it comes to propounding the faith.
Yet, St Paul and Timothy in a not so subtle way direct the community to go back to the one authorized teacher that began the endeavor to bring the gospel truth to that place: Epaphras.
That's right: Epaphras.
If anything this letter help underscore the necessity of discerning what message is received and form whom. Not every "Christian Teacher" teaches the same thing and not every one should be weighed in the same measure. There are some that team though they do not have credentials to do so and yet we give them credence because it may "tickle the ear" as St Paul describes in another letter.
Just because something sounds enticing doesn't mean it is sound if you know what i mean.
St Paul directs the community to rediscover its roots and check their understanding at the door of Epaphras' doorstep so to speak, the one who is chosen to be their guide.
We need to do this as well.
There are many so called teachers but again just because someone claims to be a teacher of of the faith doesn't make it so.
This is why we have the Catechism of the Catholic Church. We can check out what others are saying to see if they are on line with orthodoxy, right teaching or not.
We need to seek out the Epaphras in our lives so that we can stay on the right track and not get derailed by every whim and fancy that blows our way.
We start with the bishops and then go from there. This is why St Paul and Timothy both write the letter; they are bishops and they are pointing the community in the right direction.
I spent this past monday at our local Ministerial Alliance which includes a variety of folks across the spectrum. It includes nondenominational, a variety of baptist minsters and some main line church ministers as well.
As I was listening to some of them talk, i began to be very grateful for my Catholic faith and the hierarchy Jesus set up to guides us in regards to interpretation of scripture and faith and morals.
Some of them had strange understandings of scripture and the life of faith. I bet it was what Epaphras was dealign with in Colossea.
Be grateful for the Hierarchy; it is good to know someone out there has their head screwed on straight and their heart in tuned with the heart of Christ.
Pax et Bonum