Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wednesday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

(I Corinthians 3:1-9; Luke 4:38-44)

In today’s first reading St. Paul addresses a division in the Christian community at Corinth.  He urges those who see themselves as disciples of Apollo and those who claim to be followers of Paul himself to end their rivalry.  In today’s Church there is evidence of a similar disunity.  Many Catholics consider themselves as conservative while others describe themselves as liberal or progressive.  The two sides also have their heroes.  St. John Paul II represents the conservative contingent, and Pope Francis is taken as the standard-bearer of the liberals.

Paul recognizes the foolishness of such division.  He accuses those who participate in the rivalry as “fleshy people,” no more than “infants” in the faith.  He desires that the community reimage itself as a whole that has been assisted be both himself and Apollo.  Finally, he exhorts all members to understand themselves as God’s children.

As much as we allow the conservative-liberal dichotomy to thrive, our gospel message will be weakened.  Certainly there are different mindsets among Church members.  However, on close inspection there are ways in which some conservatives share values more with liberals, and vice versa, than with their own cohorts.  More importantly, the common ground of both sectors is vast and differs significantly from secular territory.  For the sake of the gospel then and for the needed support we provide one another, we must strive to overcome division.