I appeal to you, brothers, for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, to be united again in your belief and practice. From what Chloe’s people have been telling me, my dear brothers, it is clear that there are serious differences among you. What I mean are all these slogans that you have, like: ‘I am for Paul’, ‘I am for Apollos’, ‘I am for Cephas’, ‘I am for Christ.’ Has Christ been parcelled out? Was it Paul that was crucified for you? Were you baptised in the name of Paul?
For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the Good News, and not to preach that in the terms of philosophy in which the crucifixion of Christ cannot be expressed.
1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17
The Second reading at Mass on Sunday, the 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, continues the Church’s reading of Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians.
And – perhaps with a particular importance appropriately for our own times – Paul speaks of the call to unity and common purpose.
That unity is gifted to us in the Good News, and especially in Christ. And it helps us move beyond our tensions.
The image above expresses the unity of the Church – but the Scriptures bear witness to tensions, even violent tensions between Paul, Peter and Jesus, tensions that by the love of God were overcome and out of which grew great cooperation in working for the upbuilding of the Church and the sharing of the Gospel.
Carving. The Hermitage, St Petersburg. (c) 2015, Allen Morris.