**From the Navarre Bible Commentary
2nd Reading -From: Colossians 1:12-20
Prayer for Advancement in Holiness;
Exhortation to Gratitude (Continuation)
[l2] Give thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.  He has delivered us from the
dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Hymn in Praise of Christ as Head of All Creation
 He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;
 for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or
authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
 He is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning; the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,  and through him to reconcile to himself all things.
12-14. "The dominion of darkness": the condition of enslavement to the devil of a person in the state of sin. As is frequent in Sacred Scripture (cf. Is 58:10; Jn 12:35; 1 Jn 1:5; 2:8; 2 Cor 6:14; Rom 13:11-14; Eph 5:7-13), the simile of movement from darkness to light is used to refer to "redemption" or the change from a condition of sin to one of righteousness and friendship with God, which is effected by infusion of sanctifying grace (cf. St Thomas, "Commentary on Col, ad loc.").
"Light": this is a symbol of the risen Christ and also of the abundance of graces which he won for mankind in his Easter Mystery. It also describes the whole ensemble of supernatural benefits which grace brings with it--goodness, righteousness (or holiness) and truth (cf. Eph 5:9), which lead to the glory of heaven (cf. 2 Cor 4:6). Hence the "rite of light", so richly a symbol of supernatural realities, which has formed part of baptismal liturgy since the first centuries.
The struggle between light and the power of darkness is referred to in many passages of Sacred Scripture (cf. Jn 1:5, 9-11). Darkness means both evil and the power of the Evil One. Before the redemption took place, all men--as a consequence of original sin and their personal sins--were slaves to sin; this slavery darkened their minds and made it difficult for them to know God, who is the true light. Christ our Lord, by carrying out the redemption and obtaining forgiveness for our sins (cf. v. 14), rescued us from the kingdom of darkness from the tyranny of the Evil One, and brought us into the kingdom of light, the kingdom of truth and justice, of love and of peace (cf. "Preface for the Solemnity of Christ the King"), enabling us to enjoy "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom 8:21).
"His beloved Son": the Hebrew expression "Son of his love", which is paralleled in the Greek, is one of the ways Jesus Christ is referred to in the New Testament (cf. Mt 12:6; Lk 20:13). A variation, "my Son, the Beloved", is spoken by the voice from heaven, that is, by the Father, at Jesus' baptism (cf. Mt 3:17; Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22) and at the Transfiguration (cf. Mt 17:5; Mk 9:7; Lk 9:35).
By speaking in this way St Paul, like St John, is underlining the fact that "God is love" (l Jn 4:8). God's love for us was made manifest by his sending his only Son into the world so that we might live through him (cf. 1 Jn 4:9). By dying on the Cross he won life for us; by redeeming us with his blood he obtained forgiveness for our sins (cf. Col 1:14; Eph 2:4ff): "He revealed to us that God is love, and he gave us the 'new commandment' of love (Jn 13:34), at the same time communicating to us the certainty that the path of love is open for all people, so that the effort to establish universal brotherhood is not a vain one (cf. "Gaudium Et Spes", 38). By conquering through his death on the Cross evil and the power of sin, by his loving obedience he brought salvation to all" (John Paul II, "Reconciliatio Et Paenitentia", 10).
On the meaning of "redemption" and "forgiveness of sins", see the note on Eph 1:7-8.
- We Christians should be grateful to God for his great mercy in deigning to free us from the power of the devil, forgiving our sins and making us worthy to "share in the inheritance of the saints". We have benefited in so many ways: "In addition to the gift itself, he also gives us the power we need so receive it ...]. God has not only honored us by making us share in the inheritance, but has made us worthy to possess it. And so we receive a double honor from God--firstly, the position itself; and secondly, the capacity to measure up to it" (Chrysostom, "Hom. on Col, ad loc.").
Continued on the next post...*