Saturday of Week 21 of Ordinary Time – First Reading

Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Today’s reading picks up from yesterday’s discussion about true wisdom in relation to the Cross of Christ and applies it to the Christian disciples of Corinth.

As a clear example and proof of the power of Christ’s weakness, Paul cites the Corinthian Christians themselves. They are living proof that salvation does not depend on merely human resources. If they experience salvation, the credit must go completely to the Lord.

Most of the early Christian converts did not come from the class of intellectuals, from the politically influential or from aristocratic families. By the standards of the world, they were not considered among the more intellectually gifted. This only emphasises the power of Christ’s message which the powerful were not able to overturn – and still cannot overturn.

God has called not the wise and the rich and the powerful to build his Kingdom but the poorly educated and the economically weak. He has chosen “what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong”. He has chosen “those who are nothing at all show up those who are everything”, Paul tells the Corinthians.

This does two things: it proves that the deeper wisdom is in the Way of Christ, while at the same time what the Christians do achieve is the work of God in them and not something they can personally boast about. “It is due to God that you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us the wisdom of God.” To recognise that wisdom we need the inspiration of God through his Spirit. These Christians, low down in the social scale, are the evidence of God’s power and greatness. God has become their wisdom, their virtue, their holiness and their freedom.

Later on, the might of kings and governments and “wise men” will be thrown against them but they will have a power within them that cannot be overcome. This has happened again and again down to our own day. Within our own lifetime, regimes have tried to obliterate the Christian way and have failed.

The committed Christian is possessed of a vision of life that opponents do not understand. It is a vision based on the search for truth and love and justice as the only weapons of power. Equipped with such transcendent weapons which originate in God they cannot but win out in the end.

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