AD SENSE

22nd Week, Saturday, Sept 5


1 Cor 4:6-15 / Luke 6:1-5
Paul rebukes the Corinthians: We are fools; you are wise. 

1. Greek dramatists portrayed Corinthians as drunk, depraved, and boisterous. When Greeks wanted to put someone down, they'd say, "He behaves like a Corinthian." The Greeks also used the expression "Corinthian girl" to refer to a prostitute. The Corinthians were not noted for gentility. They were citizens of a port city with all the vices of such a population. This explains Paul's biting irony in today's reading. Some Corinthian Christians had grown smug and complacent with their spiritual progress. Paul tried to wake them up. They were not half as spiritual as they made themselves out to be. 
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Paul criticizes his Corinthians in an ironic way for their pretenses, but he says he does so because he loves them. What do they have that they have not received? A frequent sign of their own insecurity is that people seek security in laws and traditions. The more they insist on these, the more they try to bend people to these, the greater their insecurity. Laws are supposed to be in the service of the community, not vice versa. They may never become a block or a screen between people. They are not absolutes but servants of people.
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Do we sometimes grow smug and complacent in our own spiritual progress? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of heaven belongs to them!" Mt 5:3 
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A maxim is a written set of principles or rules of conduct. In the 1st reading, St. Paul used this word to state a simple principle or rule and that is "Keep to what is written". Most probably he was referring to the Scriptures and to the written set of teachings that were handed to the Christian community at Corinth. He made recourse to that maxim because the Christians at Corinth were beginning to interpret the teachings to their own convenience and advantage. What was too demanding and affected them personally they would give leeway for themselves and go with the broadest possible options. St. Paul wanted to bring them to their senses and to help them see the truth and the reality of their spiritual deterioration.

Yet in the gospel, it was the Pharisees who were harping on keeping to the Law of the Sabbath. But their intention was to reinforce and propagate their religious fundamentalist ideas. But it is not a question of rigidity or laxity when it comes to religious teachings. Jesus came to teach us the Truth so that we will have freedom when we keep to His teachings. In Jesus, we have the Truth who will lead us to the Way of Life. Let that be our spiritual maxim.
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Many of the events in the Gospels are reported to make a point not only to the various early Christian communities but to make a point valid for all time. Jesus is the founder of the Christian community. His attitudes toward Law, Sabbath and religious observances are normative for all Christians at all times. For this reason, the story of grain-picking on the Sabbath was retold to show that Jesus' attitude toward Sabbath Law did not share the absolutist, obsessive quality that Pharisaic legalism had imposed on it. The Lord saw the Sabbath as celebrative of our liberation from sin and our new relationship with the Father. He refused to turn it into a burden that would cage people into a new slavery. This attitude remains normative for us. 

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(In Corinth there were evidently problems of the human ego. The question of the inflated ego led to one person’s being championed over another. But when all is said and done, everything they had was gift. People began to brag about their accomplishments. The apostles continued to work incessantly as ministers of the gospel, often ridiculed and seen as fools; at the same time, there were those in Corinth who exalted themselves.
Paul writes to them as their father in Christ; it is a paternal admonition.)
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Self-esteem is something that we all cherish. But when this leads to self-adulation, we are wandering from true Christian humility. Christ rejected the request of James and John for places of honor in his kingdom. For anyone to be first, he must be the servant of all. It is the last who will be first. This is not an easy lesson to learn, but it is at the heart of the gospel. It is not surprising that Jesus showed little interest in the apostles’ plucking grain on the Sabbath. His concerns went far beyond that. When we are tempted to place ourselves on a pedestal, let us remember the apostles, who went hungry and thirsty while they followed Christ. It remains a great and noble thing to give oneself entirely for the cause of Christ, even if it escapes human notice.
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(Jesus loved to go through the cornfields. He will often speak about the corn, the sower, the weeds in the field, the great harvest. He will speak about the grain that dies only to rise up to new life. He sees in grain the bread that will be baked into the bread of life. The seed is me word that his apostles prepare, to satisfy the hunger of the soul. The bread is his body. The maturing wheat meant so much to him. 
He meditates on it. That is how he spent his Sabbath. As the ears of wheat stroke their clothes, the apostles top feel hungry. They pluck those ears of corn, they eat them and they thank God for them. Filled with joy, they hear the Pharisees' vile accusation, that they violated the sabbath: reaping, threshing, winnowing and preparing food. Plucking the corn they called harvesting, rubbing it in their hands was threshing, flinging away the husks is winnowing. Eating it shows they prepared the food. Jesus had to tell them this. The apostles accepted that he is the Lord of the Sabbath.)

Let us Pray: 
Lord our God, Jesus your Son came not to abolish the law but to fill it with the dimensions of love. Do not allow commandments and rules to stand between you and us nor between people, but let them lead us gently, as good educators, to you and to our neighbor and teach us to go beyond the law in generosity and serving love. Make us free with the freedom brought us by your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. God bless.