Monday, October 17, 2016

The Finish Line

Since I'm assigned to read 2 Tim 4:6-8, 16-18 on Sunday, I've decided to do a Lectio Divina on the reading.


I am already being poured out like a libation,
   and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have competed well; I have finished the race;
   I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me,
   which the Lord, the just judge,
    will award to me on that day, and not only to me,
   but to all who have longed for his appearance.

At my first defense, no one appeared on my behalf,
   but everyone deserted me.
May it not be held against them!
 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength,
    so that through me the proclamation might be completed
    and all the Gentiles might hear it.
And I was rescued from the lion's mouth.
The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat
    and will bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom.
To him be glory forever and ever.       Amen.


You might think Paul was going on a sea voyage by his usage of "my departure is at hand."  Also immediately before he said he was "being poured out like a libation."  In Paul's time, offerings to the gods often preceded a sea voyage.  Where is Paul going?  He's leaving this earth because he has been sentenced to death.

There is also  some reference to those who once were with him but have moved on.  There was one who left Paul to return home (Acts 19, 20; Col. 4:7, 10-18; Philem 24). Another previously abandoned Paul and came back (Acts 15: 37-39), John Mark, 2 Tim 4:11.

Paul had a hearing, "preliminary inquiry".  He sees he has no hope of acquittal. Paul is looking forward to meeting the Lord.  So he ends with a doxology.


Innocent prisoners can identify with Paul.  Maybe political prisoners feel like Paul, i.e., proud to have been arrested for their cause.  Paul sees and accepts that capital punishment is near and he reviews his apostolate.  He did the best he could.  "He finished the race."  He didn't waver and now a "crown of righteousness" awaits him.  Paul doesn't seem concerned that no one spoke up for him, after all, no one spoke up to defend Jesus.  Finally, Paul will be released from his mission and he is looking forward to it.  "The Lord will rescue me...bring me safe to his heavenly kingdom."  No wonder he ends with glory to God.


Trust in the Lord.  We must do the best we can and when we die we will be rewarded.  The Lord will give us strength. Be confident that we will see the Lord.  At that time we will sing His praises, like Paul, "To Him be glory forever and ever." Amen


May all I do be for the greater glory of God.

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