Psalms 29-31; Colossians 1

Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church,

(from the NAB notes) What is lacking: although variously interpreted, this phrase does not imply that Christ’s atoning death on the cross was defective. It may refer to the apocalyptic concept of a quota of “messianic woes” to be endured before the end comes; cf. Mk 13:8192024 and the note on Mt 23:2932. Others suggest that Paul’s mystical unity with Christ allowed him to call his own sufferings the afflictions of Christ.

I’m on board with the latter, that Paul’s unity with Christ allowed him to share in the sufferings of Christ.  This question comes up a lot in the call-in shows I listen to, where this verse is misinterpreted as Paul insinuating that Jesus’ sacrifice was incomplete.  And when we suffer, we have the opportunity to “offer it up” as Sister Mary Joseph used to say, and unite ourselves to the Cross.  And God bless you Sister Mary Joseph: you are either still alive at 133 and threatening the other rest home residents with your ruler, or praying for me in Heaven.  I’m betting it’s the latter.

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