I, Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle, together with brother Sosthenes, send greetings to the church of God in Corinth, to the holy people of Jesus Christ, who are called to take their place among all the saints everywhere who pray to our Lord Jesus Christ; for he is their Lord no less than ours. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.
1 Corinthians 1:1-3
Paul writes to the Christians of Corinth, some who were Jews but more of whom were drawn from a pagan background.
He has helped them to find a unity across cultural and religious backgrounds, a unity found in Christ. The challenge that remains, for them as now for us, is to learn to inhabit that unity, and to share it, extend it to others.
- How do you take your place among the saints?
Temple of Apollo, Corinth. (c) 2006, Allen Morris
The second reading proclaimed at Mass yesterday, on the Sunday of the 6th week in Ordinary time, came from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians.
Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. Never do anything offensive to anyone – to Jews or Greeks or to the Church of God; just as I try to be helpful to everyone at all times, not anxious for my own advantage but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved. Take me for your model, as I take Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:31-11:1
Fasting is arguably the aspect of Lent that has proved to linger longest in the secular and non-practicing mind. ‘What are you giving up for Lent?’
The answer commonly used to be smoking, more recently ‘drinking’, now the usual answer seems to be chocolate!
The reading from Corinthians reminds that Paul is mindful in his eating and drinking of how it impacts one others.
Giving up smoking, drinking or chocolate seems most likely to be done with a view to the health of our own lungs, liver, waistline or sugar-levels. Doubtless worth thinking about, and love of self is part of the triad of loves – God, neighbour and self – encouraged by Jesus.
But love and care of self alone is not what Lent is about. So, how will your fasting help draw you closer to God? And deepen your love of neighbour?
Photograph of archaeological site: site of ancient Corinth. (c) 2006, Allen Morris.