This weekend’s second reading (1 Corinthians 1:1-3) caught my attention precisely because it didn’t really catch my attention. At first hearing it seemed essentially empty – nothing more than the introduction of a letter, a “To Whom It May Concern” address. But how could that be? my little brain wondered, if indeed the Word of God is always living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword as Hebrews 4:12 asserts. So I started to look deeper.
First, I wondered just who these Corinthians were, and did a bit of research. It turns out they were brand-new Christians living a very promiscuous society. As immature believers, they weren’t quite sure what they believed yet. This bit of history made me ask myself: how mature are you? How can you grow? Do you know what you believe – or better yet, in Whom you believe? Do you learn more every day? Do you talk to Him? Do you listen? Do you invite Him to enter into all that He knows about you so that you may, someday, fully know Him too? Hmm.
Then I kept looking, and I saw this: “To you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy, with all those everywhere who call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours…” And I realized that (of course!) the letter isn’t just addressed to the Corinthians. It’s written directly to me. And you. And every single person on the planet – past, present, and future. Now it’s true that not every person calls on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. They may not have heard of Him yet, or recognized His tender mercies. (Why not? How can I make a difference there?) But the universal call to holiness has been broadcast (see Romans 1:20). Our job is to respond – to admit to our dependence on and total surrender to His all-good will, and to recognize that sin is always and everywhere a diminishment of what He desires for us. When we echo the words of Psalm 40, “Here I am, Lord. I come to do your will,” we respond to St. Paul’s greeting, and we invite the grace and peace of deeply knowing God – and the sure hope (cf. John 6:40) of abundant, eternal life – a life which, since eternal, does not begin at some point in the future but is happening right now.
Jesus always has His victory when He has your abandonment. He needs nothing more than that to bring about the divine wonders that His Heart has prepared for you from all eternity.”
– Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee
Parish Catechetical Leader