Wednesday, September 5, 2012 by Food for Thought
FirstReading: 1 Cor 3:1-9
Psalm: Ps 33:12-13, 14-15, 20-21
Gospel: Lk 4:38-44
Quarrels and jealousy abounded among the Christians of Corinth. Quarrels and jealousy within Christian groups were, and still are, marks of spiritual immaturity.
Paul and Apollos, who both preached the Jesus’ good news, unknowingly were at the center of one of these quarrels. Paul laid the foundation of the local church and when he departed, Apollos took up the task of building on the foundation Paul had laid. For whatever reason, factions formed, one looking to Paul as its leader, the other to Apollos.
Today, Paul reprimands the Corinthians.
In the competition generated by this foolish loyalty, the message of Christ was lost. Christ preached love. Love lay smothered under the misguided allegiance each group offered to its hero. Paul is quite strong on this point: messengers are not of any importance. They are not to be distractions drawing attention away from the message or from God.
There’s something similar going on in the Gospel. Jesus refuses to allow the evil spirits to distract people from his message. Popular belief in Galilee held that the Messiah was to be a political
liberator. Jesus did not want false expectations to cloud the spiritual nature of his message. As Fr. Krempa puts it, Jesus’ task was to establish within individuals a deep, personal faith in and commitment to the kingdom of God. Once faith and commitment have been established, it is, as Krempa says, to be authenticated by the way it would be lived out in society. But he adds, “Jesus sternly refused to reverse this priority.”
In our day too the thoroughness of our Christian living will be proportionate to the depth of our faith and the firmness of our commitment.