Wellspring of the Gospel


Year A: 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:1-5

St Paul continues to instruct the Corinthians in what being a Christian means - and what it does not mean!
The apostles - are no more than stewards of the mysteries of God and the Kingdom. They do not own the mysteries - nor does any Christian. The highest position any of us can aspire to in the Kingdom is steward - never owner.

Following on from that, St Paul points out that the only thing rally expected of a steward is that he or she be found worthy of the trust placed in them. This, of course, means that they have to fulfil certain roles and responsibilities - but the thing upon which they will be judged is their trustworthiness.

St Paul also takes the line that, at the end of the day, the Corinthians - and anyone else for that matter can make up their own mind about him - but, as far as he is concerned, his conscience is clear. Not that this means he is without fault - but he is prepared to leave that judgement in the hands of God.

He highlights the fact that any judgement here and now by fallible human beings - can only ever be premature. We cannot know the hidden motives of people - and know that what seems like a good thing may in fact be something of an ego-trip. Similarly, something that comes across as wrong may be a genuine mistake. Only God can see motives and intentions - and make a real and fair judgement.

It is a fact, also, that we ourselves are not always aware of our own motives and intentions. We can be convinced that we are acting in the best interests of others - and be blissfully unaware of the selfish reasons lurking in the background. Sometimes, the motives may not be selfish - but may be the result of some deep inner hurt which compels us to try to please others. Our actions may be good - but somewhere, we are in need of inner healing.

If we spend too long trying to work out our hidden motivations it is easy to become self-obsessed.  A healthy reflection and examination of our conscious thoughts and actions may help to uncover some of the things that are hidden and secret even from ourselves.

Beyond that, we could do worse than to follow St Paulís example of saying - we do our best - but in the end, we trust God to judge our thoughts and actions far more justly than we ever could. And, if we trust God to give us a fairer judgement than we could give ourselves - then, we are duty bound to honour the fact that He will also judge others more fairly than we can!

What does it mean for me?


When have you prejudged someone - or a situation - and been proven wrong?

When have your actions been pre-judged by others?

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