THEME: GOD’S JUDGEMENT ALONE MATTERS
Paul today, speaks positively about God’s judgment and warns those who would judge others within the Christian community. Behind Paul’s comments lies a strong concern for unity. Paul emphasizes that Christian ministry and corporate existence must reflect a unity formed by the gospel, a unity threatened by an atmosphere in which people usurp or deny God’s right to judge. Keep in mind that Paul’s comments come in a letter that tries to mend divisions and call Christians back to a proper understanding of their place in God’s scheme.
The Corinthian church was beset by petty rivalries and widening divisions (see 1:10–11; 3:1–4), and one of the ways in which disunity manifested itself was through the distinctions that the Corinthians were drawing among themselves. Paul reminds all Christians that we’re stewards of God and servants of the Gospel.
Life as a servant or steward implies accountability, and such people are measured by the degree to which they are trustworthy or faithful in carrying out their responsibilities. Responsibilities can be executed in a variety of ways according to one’s creativity and capacities, but faithfulness stands as the only basis or criterion for assessing it. The only judgment that matters is that which is given by the master whom a servant serves. God is the master and all Christians are servants, hence, his judgement alone matters.
Paul’s primary points, then, are these:
• Christians do not belong to themselves but are servants of Christ and the gospel.
• The service performed by God’s people issues from their faithfulness to God and is valued precisely as an extension of faithfulness.
• Only God is authorized to appraise the integrity of a person’s faithfulness, and God will issue approval and disapproval at an appointed time.
• Making distinctions and issuing judgments about other believers’ fidelity, maturity, deserved esteem, or anything else is not for us to do but for God.
St. Paul attempts in this text to bring to an end the striving, self-promotion, and backbiting that plagued the Corinthian church and hindered its ability to embody the gospel of Jesus Christ. His concern was that members of the Church re-embrace their understanding of themselves as a community bearing a unified witness.
Thus, the first reading speaks to Christians that have lost sight of their purpose and who have turned against themselves. In fact, it speaks to us all, it reminds us that when we create hierarchies and standards of measurement, others end up at the bottom; when we engage in wars of judgment, some end up being judged and diminished.
Paul’s words also implies Goodnews for people who have been the targets of attacks in our various communities. Those condemned unjustly and mistreated as witches, evil men, wicked men/women and worse sinners. God alone is the chief judge, and we’re truly accountable to him alone. At his appointed time, he’ll give the final verdict and his judgement alone matters.
PRAYER: Help us, Lord, avoid bringing division among your people by passing judgement on others. Amen!
GOOD MORNING AND HAPPY WEEKEND!