GLEANINGS FROM THE FIRST LETTER TO THE
St. Paul evangelized Corinth during
his second missionary journey. He remained in Corinth for about 18 months,
from about the year 50 to 52. (Acts,18:1-18)
During his third missionary journey, while Paul was in Ephesus for three
years, 54-57,. (Acts,19:1-20:1) he wrote this letter to the Church in
1. "I can never stop thanking God for all the
generous gifts he has given you, now that you belong to Christ Jesus."(1
It is usually much easier to see the weak points of my brothers and sisters,
rather than the "generous gifts God has given them". And it
is rare indeed to thank God for all these generous gifts we see in them.
But to be able to do so must be a very refreshing and liberating experience
2. "Now, dear brothers and sisters, I appeal
to you by the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ to stop arguing among
yourselves. Let there be real harmony so there won't be divisions in the
church. I plead with you to be of one mind, united in thought and purpose."(1
Oh Lord, let me be an instrument of unity in your Church. Let me be honest
to myself, to my conscience, to my belief, and at the same time let me
be a sign of hope and love for the world.
3. "Dear brothers and sisters, when I was
with you, I had to talk to you as though you were infants in the Christian
life. I had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you
couldn't handle anything stronger." (1 Corinthians,3:1-2)
Right after the first Evangelization and baptism, St Paul had to treat
the Christians of Corinth as "infants" spiritually. But they
My faith must grow too. I can not remain an "infant" for ever.
I must grow and be able to eat spiritual solid food. Both the knowledge
and the experience of faith must become "adult".
4. "My job was to plant the seed in your
hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God, not we, who made it grow.
The ones who do the planting or watering aren't important, but God is
important because he is the one who makes the seed grow."
(1 Corinthians, 3:6-7)
After St Paul left Corinth, a newly baptized jew, Apollos, came to Corinth
from Alexandria and became a catechist there. Some Christians liked his
teaching and seemed to follow him more that Paul. In this letter, St Paul
clarifies his role and Apollos' role.
5. "Don't you realize that all of you together
are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will
bring ruin upon anyone who ruins this temple. For God's temple is holy,
and you Christians are that temple." (1 Corinthians, 3:6,17)
Each individual believer is the temple of the Holy Spirit, as St Paul
clearly states in this same letter: "Or don't you know that your
body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given
to you by God? You do not belong to yourself."
(1 Corinthians, 6:19)
But, at the same time, Paul clarifies, that the Community of believers
too is the temple of the Holy Spirit and requires the same respect and
6. "I wish everyone could get along without
marrying, just as I do. But we are not all the same. God gives some the
gift of marriage, and to others he gives the gift of singleness."
(1 Corinthians, 7:7)
The vocation to marriage and the vocation to celibacy, both come from
God. It is a call, and every call leads to a mission.
7. "While knowledge may make us feel important,
it is love that really builds up the church."( 1 Corinthians, 8:1)
Lord Jesus, your Church is a Community of faith and love. Let me grow
into this Community.
8. "I discipline my body like an athlete,
training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching
to others I myself might be disqualified."
(1 Corinthians, 9:27)
We are so eager to know more, to train our intelligence. Do I train my
will? Am I a self-disciplined person? Am I ready to commit myself to a
9. "Love never gives up, never loses faith,
is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." (1 Corinthians,
Knowledge will end one day, faith and hope will no longer be necessary
because we will see God face to face. Only Love will last for ever.
10. "Since you are so eager to have spiritual
gifts, ask God for those that will be of real help to the whole church."
(1 Corinthians, 14:12)
All the talents God granted me will find their full meaning when I will
put them at the service and building of the Community.
"A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the
11. "But someone may ask, 'How will the dead be raised? What kind
of bodies will they have?' What a foolish question! When you put a seed
into the ground, it doesn't grow into a plant unless it dies first.
So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown
is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is
raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is
sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." (1 Corinthians,
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is the fullness of God's Revelation.
As Jesus was raised from the dead, so shall we. Death is not the complete
destruction of life. Death is a change, like a seed's death is the development
of its inner life. God who created us in his own image and established
with us a relationship of Father-son, will keep us in His Love for all