The Third Sunday of the Year Is 8:23 – 9:3; 1 Cor 1:10-13; Mt 4:12-23 (year a)

‘I appeal to you brothers, for the sake of Our Lord Jesus Christ, to make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, be united again in your belief and in your practice.”

St Paul’s plea to the fledgling church of Corinth was in response to the bitter divisions that had overwhelmed this community from its beginning. The questions that divided Corinth long ago continue to divide today, especially those concerning leadership, sexual morality and the nature of the resurrection from the dead.

Paul would address these concerns in the body of his letter. His deeper insight, borne of this bitter strife, speaks to all generations and the root causes of all dissension and fragmentation.

People of faith readily confess that Christ is the Lord of their lives. This fundamental faith, so easily spoken, is readily displaced in times of stress and disagreement. The frailty of our sinful humanity has a tendency, when challenged, to assert itself and its own agenda above everything else. When this happens, whether consciously or unconsciously, we have allowed ourselves, rather than Christ, to become the Lord of our lives. For this reason Paul insisted, over and over again, that he preached not himself, but Christ crucified: folly to the world, but salvation to all who believed in him.

This sinful assertion of self divides nations and peoples. More immediately, it has the power to destroy families and local communities. Let us pray that Christ, rather than past resentments, might nurture our continuing relationships.

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