Introduction to 1 Corinthians
Paul’s first letter to the church of Corinth provides us with a fuller insight into the life of an early Christian community of the first generation than any other book of the New Testament. Through it we can glimpse both the strengths and the weaknesses of this small group in a great city of the ancient world, men and women who had accepted the good news of Christ and were now trying to realize in their lives the implications of their baptism. Paul, who had founded the community and continued to look after it as a father, responds both to questions addressed to him and to situations of which he had been informed. In doing so, he reveals much about himself, his teaching, and the way in which he conducted his work of apostleship. Some things are puzzling because we have the correspondence only in one direction. Paul established a Christian community in Corinth about the year 51, on his second missionary journey. The city, a commercial crossroads, was a melting pot full of devotees of various pagan cults and marked by a measure of moral depravity not unusual in a great seaport.
While Paul was in Ephesus on his third journey, he received disquieting news about Corinth. The community there was displaying open factionalism, as certain members were identifying themselves exclusively with individual Christian leaders and interpreting Christian teaching as a superior wisdom for the initiated few. The community lacked the decisiveness to take appropriate action against one of its members who was living publicly in an incestuous union. Other members engaged in legal conflicts in pagan courts of law; still others may have participated in religious prostitution or temple sacrifices. The community’s ills were reflected in its liturgy. In the celebration of the Eucharist certain members discriminated against others, drank too freely at the agape, or fellowship meal, and denied Christian social courtesies to the poor among the membership. Charisms such as ecstatic prayer, attributed freely to the impulse of the holy Spirit, were more highly prized than works of charity, and were used at times in a disorderly way. Women appeared at the assembly without the customary head-covering, and perhaps were quarreling over their right to address the assembly. Still other problems with which Paul had to deal concerned matters of conscience discussed among the faithful members of the community: the eating of meat that had been sacrificed to idols, the use of sex in marriage, and the attitude to be taken by the unmarried toward marriage in view of the possible proximity of Christ’s second coming. There was also a doctrinal matter that called for Paul’s attention, for some members of the community, despite their belief in the resurrection of Christ, were denying the possibility of general bodily resurrection. Paul wrote this letter from Ephesus about the year 56. The majority of the Corinthian Christians may well have been quite faithful. Paul writes on their behalf to guard against the threats posed to the community by the views and conduct of various minorities. He writes with confidence in the authority of his apostolic mission, and he presumes that the Corinthians, despite their deficiencies, will recognize and accept it. On the other hand, he does not hesitate to exercise his authority as his judgment dictates in each situation, even going so far as to promise a direct confrontation with recalcitrants, should the abuses he scores remain uncorrected. The letter illustrates well the mind and character of Paul. Although he is impelled to insist on his office as founder of the community, he recognizes that he is only one servant of God among many and generously acknowledges the labors of Apollos. He provides us in this letter with many valuable examples of his method of theological reflection and exposition. He always treats the questions at issue on the level of the purity of Christian teaching and conduct. Certain passages of the letter are of the greatest importance for the understanding of early Christian teaching on the Eucharist and on the resurrection of the body.
SEPTEMBER 7 First Wednesday
1 Corinthians, chapter 2, Verse 3-15
3I came to you in weakness and FEAR and much trembling, 4and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom, but with a demonstration of spirit and power, 5 so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
It is God’s desire that we be wise not in the way of the world but in the ways of eternity.
Greek tradition of wisdom was based in argumentations. The Greeks lived to argue. Arguments (discussions) & logics were entertainments. Interests in philosophies and rhetoric was based not only what is said, but how it is said. Always looking for something profound (deep meaning)
Jews have their wisdom tradition which includes the wisdom Literatures.
1. Job – story of a man who did right & suffers
2. Psalms – classic wisdom, praise, laments, etc
3. Proverbs – classic wisdom: do right & no suffering
4. Ecclesiastes – meaning of life
5. Song of Songs – intimate relationship with God
Gnostics tradition of wisdom and knowledge was a heresy in the early church, a bad theology based on “Secret knowledge” that is needed for salvation. All matters are evil, spirit is good. Gnostics denied the humanity of Christ “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel –not with words of (human) wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power (made void)” “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” The Cross – is the Message. “For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
Catechism of the Catholic Church
PART TWO: THE CELEBRATION OF THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERY
SECTION TWO-THE SEVEN SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH
II. The Sacrament of Holy Orders in the Economy of Salvation
The priesthood of the Old Covenant
1539 The chosen people was constituted by God as "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." But within the people of Israel, God chose one of the twelve tribes, that of Levi, and set it apart for liturgical service; God himself is its inheritance. A special rite consecrated the beginnings of the priesthood of the Old Covenant. the priests are "appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins."
1540 Instituted to proclaim the Word of God and to restore communion with God by sacrifices and prayer, this priesthood nevertheless remains powerless to bring about salvation, needing to repeat its sacrifices ceaselessly and being unable to achieve a definitive sanctification, which only the sacrifice of Christ would accomplish.
1541 The liturgy of the Church, however, sees in the priesthood of Aaron and the service of the Levites, as in the institution of the seventy elders, a prefiguring of the ordained ministry of the New Covenant. Thus in the Latin Rite the Church prays in the consecratory preface of the ordination of bishops:
God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by your gracious word
you have established the plan of your Church.
From the beginning,
you chose the descendants of Abraham to be your holy nation.
You established rulers and priests
and did not leave your sanctuary without ministers to serve you....
1542 At the ordination of priests, the Church prays:
Lord, holy Father, . . .
when you had appointed high priests to rule your people,
you chose other men next to them in rank and dignity
to be with them and to help them in their task....
you extended the spirit of Moses to seventy wise men....
You shared among the sons of Aaron
the fullness of their father's power.
1543 In the consecratory prayer for ordination of deacons, the Church confesses:
Almighty God . . ..
You make the Church, Christ's body,
grow to its full stature as a new and greater temple.
You enrich it with every kind of grace
and perfect it with a diversity of members
to serve the whole body in a wonderful pattern of unity.
You established a threefold ministry of worship and service,
for the glory of your name.
As ministers of your tabernacle you chose the sons of Levi
and gave them your blessing as their everlasting inheritance.
The one priesthood of Christ
1544 Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the "one mediator between God and men." The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, "priest of God Most High," as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique "high priest after the order of Melchizedek"; "holy, blameless, unstained," "by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified," that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.
1545 The redemptive sacrifice of Christ is unique, accomplished once for all; yet it is made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice of the Church. the same is true of the one priesthood of Christ; it is made present through the ministerial priesthood without diminishing the uniqueness of Christ's priesthood: "Only Christ is the true priest, the others being only his ministers."
Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ
1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church "a kingdom, priests for his God and Father." The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. the faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ's mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are "consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood."
1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, "each in its own proper way, in the one priesthood of Christ." While being "ordered one to another," they differ essentially. In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace - a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit - ,the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. the ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.
In the person of Christ the Head . . .
1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:
It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person
his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal
consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and
possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ
himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).
Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.
1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers. In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.
1550 This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. the power of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way. While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the minister's sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church.
1551 This priesthood is ministerial. "That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service." It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. the sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a "sacred power" which is none other than that of Christ. the exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all. "The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him."
. . . "in the name of the whole Church"
1552 The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ - Head of the Church - before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.
1553 "In the name of the whole Church" does not mean that priests are the delegates of the community. the prayer and offering of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and through his Church. the whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays and offers herself "through him, with him, in him," in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. the whole Body, caput et membra, prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood represents Christ that it can represent the Church.
Our Heavenly Father desires all three hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph to be honored. And so along with devotion to Jesus on First Fridays, and to Mary on First Saturdays, Our Father longs for us to add devotion to St. Joseph on each First Wednesday of the month.
"The Sacred Hearts of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph have been chosen by the Most Holy Trinity to bring peace to the world." It is at God's request that "special love and honor be given to them" to help us "imitate" their love and their lives, as well as "offer reparation" for the sins committed against them and their love.
The St. Joseph First Wednesday devotion is:
1. Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary - remembering St. Joseph's love, his life, his role and his sufferings
2. Receive Holy Communion - in union with the love St. Joseph had for Jesus the first time and each time he held him - his son, his God and Savior - in his arms.
In the approved apparitions of Our Lady of America, St. Joseph revealed:
· "I am the protector of the Church and the home, as I was the protector of Christ and his mother while I lived upon earth. Jesus and Mary desire that my pure heart, so long hidden and unknown, be now honored in a special way.
· Let my children honor my most pure heart in a special manner on the First Wednesday of the month by reciting the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary in memory of my life with Jesus and Mary and the love I bore them, the sorrow I suffered with them.
· Let them receive Holy Communion in union with the love with which I received the Savior for the first time and each time I held Him in my arms.
· Those who honor me in this way will be consoled by my presence at their death, and I myself will conduct them safely into the presence of Jesus and Mary."
Every Wednesday is Dedicated to St. Joseph
The Italian culture has always had a close association with St. Joseph perhaps you could make Wednesdays centered around Jesus’s Papa. Plan an Italian dinner of pizza or spaghetti after attending Mass as most parishes have a Wednesday evening Mass. You could even do carry out to help restaurants. If you are adventurous, you could do the Universal Man Plan: St. Joseph style. Make the evening a family night perhaps it could be a game night. Whatever you do make the day special.
· 30 DAY TRIBUTE TO MARY 24th ROSE: Mary, the Help of Christians
· Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus