Memorial of St. Gregory the Great, pope
(I Corinthians 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-44)
At one parish there was an increasingly bitter rivalry between the Guadalupanas (the Sodality of Our Lady of Guadalupe) and the Carmelitas (the Sodality of Our Lady of Mount Carmel). Each would contend that they were the best women group in the parish and began to shun members of the other group. The pastor noting the un-Christ like behavior had the women serve each other. On July 16, the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the Guadalupanas would serve breakfast to the Carmelitas. Of course the courtesy was reciprocated on December 12. In today’s first reading Paul similarly tries to stem the rivalries brewing in Corinth.
After spending over a year with the Corinthians, Paul knows that they have been instructed well. He has preached, modeled, and taught unity in Christ. He naturally becomes disappointed when they break down into factions like all their neighbors. He must remind them that they are different from other groups because they have been molded by Christ into his body. In him there is no place rivalry.
Life in Christ makes us a new creation. We are to leave behind thinking of ourselves as better than others. We should know more form bands that rival one another than one of our arms would compete with the other for a place of honor. Christ has made us one in love reflecting the love of him and his Father.