Our first readings this week and next are from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians.The introduction to that book in our new American Bible tells us that Paul never visited Colossae, but that his disciple Epaphras brought Christianity to the people there; later writing to Paul about troubles developing in the community there.
Colossae was a central town in what we now call Turkey. It was a crossroads where all travelers met, exchanging ideas and beliefs of all sorts. Epaphras wrote to Paul for advice in dealing with the latest religious fads finding root in Colossae.
What he described was something like Astrology. In standard Astrology its practitioners claim to be in communication with the stars and the planets. The newcomers to Colossae added to that, saying that the heavenly bodies were each controlled by heavenly spirits or angels to which they assigned such names as “Thrones, Dominions or Principalities.”
The devotees of those so-called angels were spreading anti-Christian teachings that were too much for Epaphras to prove wrong, so he wrote to Paul whowas a prisoner in Rome..