Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another – as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. ~ Colossians 3:12
Holy and beloved…who, me? Holey and bedraggled, yes. Harried and bereaved, you bet. Life in CovidLand has been…shall we say, challenging? Fortunately, we believers know in our hearts that, irrespective of the world’s seemingly spinning out of control, God, as the saying goes, is still in His heaven – and still in control. And His word is more prescient and contemporary than ever.
Consider St. Paul’s instruction: “Put on” is an active verb, indicating some action required on our part. Our clothes don’t magically fall on us — we consider what to wear – based on activity, weather, and mood, make a decision – and then physically don them. “Putting on” compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience may not be our first instinct, as people, situations, and weird viruses try our patience. But when we pause to consider that maybe the person we’re dealing with who is on our last nerve might be struggling herself, and make the conscious decision to “wear” gentleness and patience – whether the mood strikes us or not – our faith translates into action. Ideally, the next time we are less than loveable, someone will extend us this same grace.
I’m guessing that St. Paul felt neither holy nor beloved, having dedicated himself to persecuting followers of Christ. But his encounter with the Risen Lord gave him supernatural insights, and among them was that we lowly humans were made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10) and that literally nothing could separate us from His love (Romans 8:38).
In times when we feel insignificant, overwhelmed by circumstances, and frustrated with the world, recalling that Christ’s death and resurrection renders we women “holy and beloved “is good news indeed. And the fact that we encounter Him each and every time we receive the Eucharist makes us truly blessed!