Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 1:1-7; Matthew 5:1-12)
“We’re number one! We’re number one!” college students love to brag when their team wins a game that thrusts it to the top of a football or basketball poll. Losers are never so cheered. They take consolation in that they played well, abided by all the rules, and emerge as better people in the much more important sojourn of life. In today’s first reading Paul describes such a consolation for the church at Corinth.
Because Christians in Corinth are a minority, they no doubt suffer the disdain of the powerful. They also face interior division over beliefs and loyalties. The letter does not spell out exactly the nature of these problems. It could be that Jewish-Christian preachers from Palestine were preaching adherence to the Law. Another possibility is that Greek charismatic preachers were giving divisive interpretations to the gifts of the Spirit. In any case, Paul reminds his readers that in Christ’s sufferings they as well as he find comfort. After all, Christ’ humiliating death on the cross led to his resurrection and glory.
None of us likes to suffer. But we can bear with suffering if it has positive significance. We will find that significance when we bind ourselves closely to Christ. In him even the suffering brought about by our own faults redounds for our eternal benefit. When we suffer, let us turn to the crucifix and offer our pain as an act of solidarity with him.