26 August 2010 Thursday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 1, 1-9; Psalm 145; Matthew 24, 42-51
The ancient form of letter writing begins with an identification. So Paul writes to the Corinthians with an introduction about himself and Sosthenes. He tells the Corinthians that he is an apostle willed by Christ. Here we see Paul coining the word, apostle and fashioned it for Christian use. He also introduces Sosthenes as a brother.
There are certain important ideas in the first reading. Paul reminds the Corinthians that they are all called to holiness and their unity is based on the same Lord. Paul states that the Corinthians share the same status “with all those everywhere who call on the Lord Jesus Christ.” This means that all Christians, wherever they are, are indebted to one another by the mere fact that they profess the same Lord.
Why is this important? The Corinthians are gifted. Paul writes that they have been “enriched in every way, with all discourse and all knowledge.” They are proud of these gifts. However, it is these same gifts that cause division. They fail in the proper or Christian way of using them. Paul has to remind them that these gifts are from God.
Instead of fostering love among the members of the community, they have formed cliques among themselves. Some are in the group of Apollos; some with Cephas (not St. Peter); while others simply brand themselves as “belonging to Christ.” Paul reminds them that by forming sub-groups, they belittle their baptism that makes them one. Whatever diversity they have viz-a-vis their talents, it should express their being community. Diversity signifies the Holy Spirit’s actions among them: they are members of one body, but diverse in their roles and functions in the community. The various talents they have are suppose to enrich all the members of the community.
Knowing the background of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we should therefore evaluate our attitude towards the gifts of the Lord. Are we aware of what we have? Do we use our gifts at the service of our community? Do they unite or divide us?