When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’
Now the sting of death is sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Never give in then, my dear brothers, never admit defeat; keep on working at the Lord’s work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be labouring in vain.
Second reading for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 15:54-58
Paul knows the cost of struggle; knows the ability of others to plant fear, to raise doubts and induce a sort of spiritual paralysis.
He also knows that nothing, nothing, can finally withstand the life-giving force that is God’s love in Jesus Christ. Christ has won the victory – and he shares it with us.
We face struggle, but it is also true that we are already in the victory parade, riding – as it were – on the Lord’s coat-tails.
- For what might you thank God that he has already overcome? (even if, today, it still seems a challenge to you?)
Image: Exterior Wall Tiles. Near St James Market, London. (c) 2017, Allen Morris.
A section of Paul’s text is set to stirring effect in Brahm’s Ein Deutsches Requiem. A clip of the setting of vv 54, 55 is available here. The recording of Brahm’s own reduction of the full orchestral score for piano duet is here from The Sixteen’s own shop, but also from other suppliers!