In the second reading this Sunday, we have the great Christological hymn in Colossians. The hymn sets out the true identity of Jesus Christ and at once, in highly technical theological language, the kerygma. It begin with the truth of his identity as true God. The word “image” εικων, is “icon” translated literally. An icon was not just a mere symbol or re-presentation of the divine, but understood originally as the thing itself. It is more than just a copy. We, in turn, are made in this image and likeness o God, marred now by sin.

Yet he has come to use to reconcile all things for God the Father. This reconciliation is effected by the donation of precious blood, which is life (cf. Leviticus 17). In other words the share we have in God’s life is restore through participation in his precious blood.

Our contemporary cultural symbolisms and structures of thought are very far from this way of looking at the human person, and very, very far from our imagery around blood. There’s almost no way around this; explaining it takes much talk and time, and in the end still does not make sense to the modern person. Yet, this reconciliation through blood only occurs because of who Jesus Christ is, as the hymn lays it out. He is the only one so positioned to effect this reconciliation. We cannot do it on our own, that is, be one again with God. This too is hard for us.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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