Tuesday of Week 10 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on 2 Corinthians 1:18-22

It seems that Paul has incurred a certain amount of criticism from the Corinthians and is coming to his own defence. In the verses just preceding today’s reading, he admits that he had intended paying them a double visit. On his way to Macedonia, he intended passing through Corinth and then pass through Corinth again on his way back. He did not do this, and it seems he was accused of being two-faced, of being a Yes’ and ‘No’ person at the same time. Feelings seem to have been so strong against Paul that he had to deal with the problem at a distance through letters and delegations (internal conflicts among Christians are nothing new!).

Unable to deny the change in plans, Paul nonetheless asserts the firmness of the original plan and claims that it does not indicate in any way a lack of constancy in his behaviour and work. He grounds his defence in God himself, who is utterly firm and reliable. So he claims that this quality can expect to be found in varying degrees in all those who are associated with God. Christ, Paul and the Corinthians all participate in analogous ways in the constancy of God.

So he goes to his own defence and denies that he was in any way two-faced:

I declare that my word to you is not ‘yes ‘ one minute and ‘no’ the next.

Like Jesus, his Lord, he claims that he together with his missionary companions, Timothy and Silvanus, were never anything but ‘Yes’.

However many God’s promises are, they are always an unequivocal Yes’ – not ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’. Similarly, an ‘Amen’ (‘So be it’) from Paul and his helpers goes through Jesus to God for his glory. The real source of Paul’s security in the Corinthians and the one who anointed him and his companions for their work is the same God. Their guarantee of that is their total endorsement of Jesus.

In turn:

…it is he who anointed us and has sealed us, thereby depositing the first payment, the Spirit, in our hearts.

The Corinthians should be assured, then, that his failure to make the promised visit was not due to any insincerity on Paul’s part.

We might note that a number of the terms in the passage, which appear related only in concept in Paul’s Greek or an English translation, would be variations of the same root in a Semitic mind, such as Paul’s. These include the words ‘yes’, ‘faithful’, ‘amen’, ‘gives us security’, ‘faith’, and ‘stand firm’.

Integrity is an essential quality in our Christian life.

Blessed are the pure in heart, they shall see God.

People need to be confident that what they see in us and hear from us comes from deep within us. Paraphrasing the slogan, we should be able to say of ourselves, “What you see is what there is”. Falsehood or hypocrisy of any kind will seriously diminish the effectiveness of our Christian witness.

Parents and teachers and others responsible for the formation of the young have a special responsibility here. We are not to be like the Pharisees who teach one thing and do differently.

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