Year A: 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 1: 26-31
Because the Second Reading in Ordinary Time is a continuous reading from one of the Letters, more often than not, there is little to connect it to the Gospel and first Reading.
Today is a happy exception.
St Paul is continuing his theme about how God does not conform to the world’s understanding of wisdom and strength.
The community in Corinth was, as we have seen, a very mixed group. There were a few people wealthy enough to own houses big enough for the gatherings for the Breaking of Bread. But there were far more slaves - ex-slaves and other less-reputable people in the community.
Far from seeing this as a disadvantage, St Paul uses it to highlight how God works.
The community had little to recommend it in terms of wisdom and respectability and yet God chose them. There were, no doubt, people in Corinth who were considered wise and strong - but God did not choose them. In Athens, not very far from Corinth, there were many cultured and noble families - yet God did not give them the gift of faith - they could not receive the Gospel of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
Paul shows again how God’s foolishness is greater than human wisdom - how His values are so much higher than ours that they turn ours upside down.
Humanity, says Paul, has nothing to boast about - and looking around the world we can see that this is still true. The greatest minds and wisdom in the world has yet to find a way to ensure that no-one goes to bed hungry or cold - or found ways to prevent wars - and so on.
But the Corinthians - and we - are called to something beyond human wisdom and understanding - we are called to be members of the Body of Christ.
This does not take away our responsibilities in the world - but should ensure that we live in an awareness of our dependence on God.
This reminds us of the theme of the Gospel and the First Reading, that those who are called to live in the Kingdom don’t boast about themselves and their achievements - they know that their boast is about God - from whom all gifts - all knowledge and wisdom come from.
What does it mean for me?
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