Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
I will thank you forever,
because of what you have done.
In the presence of the faithful
I will proclaim your name, for it is good.
After leaving the synagogue he entered Simon’s house. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked him about her. Then he stood over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her. Immediately she got up and began to serve them.
As the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various kinds of diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on each of them and cured them. Demons also came out of many, shouting, “You are the Son of God!” But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Messiah.
At daybreak he departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowds were looking for him; and when they reached him, they wanted to prevent him from leaving them. But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.” So he continued proclaiming the message in the synagogues of Judea.
Our psalm today invokes the image of a green olive tree in the house of God, of one overflowing with praise for God’s infinite goodness. And indeed, our readings are full of images and examples of fruitfulness that flows from the word and the works of God.
In the letter to the Colossians, Paul speaks of the gospel bearing fruit in all the world and also among the Christians at Colossae. The church at Colossae was indeed a fruit of Paul’s own ministry, for Epaphras, a disciple of Paul, had evangelized the area. Paul writes his letter to support, encourage, and instruct them, embracing them as members of the church of Christ even though he has yet to set foot among them. For this is truly the nature of the gospel; to go out into the world, always making new Christians, new disciples, and new evangelists. Though some, like Paul, will stand out as great among the evangelists and will have special gifts and callings to evangelize, no less necessary are those like Epaphras to take the word they have heard and share it, producing the fruits of conversion and edification of the body of Christ.
We see in the gospel too how Jesus’s ministry was one of fruition, of spreading among others and not being limited to one person or one place. What started as a simple visit to Simon’s house led to Jesus healing Simon’s mother-in-law, which grew to the whole town coming to Him in the evening to be healed, which grew to Jesus moving on to the other cities of Judea to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. Interestingly, the response of the townspeople is to try to prevent Jesus leaving, to keep Him among them. So natural it is for us to try to keep a good thing for ourselves. But Jesus has other work to do, other seeds to plant and fruit to bring forth. It is now up to them to nourish the word and the works that have been given to them and to allow them to grow and bring forth fruit among them.
What fruits have come forth in my own life from the word of God and the things He has done for me? How can I continue to cultivate these fruits and bring forth more? Do I seek to keep the good things of God to myself or to share them? Do I believe that sharing the word of God and evangelization are only for special people to do, or do I seek to share the gospel and the love of God with others?
Today, let’s pray for the grace to continue to receive and grow the word in our hearts, to truly comprehend the grace of God, and to bear fruit and share this word.