18 Sep Wednesday
We live in such times that challenge some that we should pray for “kings and those in authority”, translate: “politicians” today. To use Paul’s language we might ask if our prayers for them have actually resulted in “a quiet and tranquil live in all devotion and dignity.” Everywhere we sense the disquiet of our times; human rights and dignity are eroded in our own country and in too many place throughout the world. Surely it is not that our prayers are inadequate.
Paul then makes a leap in the text and connects this sort of life with the salvation. In other words, when we have the peaceful life, then we can focus on salvation. At the same time, this sort of life is a glimpse then of the life of the world to come.
The universalism really stands out in Paul. He proposes that underlying all this is the one God (remember he is living in a polytheistic world, much like our own), and this one God’s will is the salvatkon of all. God is our true king who alone brings us quiet, tranquility, and human dignity. The barriers of race and cult are banished, and the work of salvation has an enormous breath and scope.
He tells us that this is the core witness of his mission. He is speaking the truth. The passage ends with Paul returning to his theme of prayer. Note that hands of prayer in his culture were uplifted hands, unlike the folded hands of today. Folded hands in prayers is a very much later custom in Western Europe. Note, too, that effective prayer is engaged without anger or argument. Paul is always aware of the factions in the early Christian communities. A unified parish is surely every pastor’s dream.