The last bulletin article was the final article describing the beauty and symbolism of St Joseph Church. My hopes are to put together a book on Amazon with as many pictures of marriages, baptisms, and first communions as possible that were celebrated here. I am also looking for any pictures that were taken of St Joseph Church. As we proceed, in light of the new feast day, I have decided to continue to make commentaries on the Bible from where I left off a little over a year ago. I had just finished the letter to the Romans from Paul. The next book in the Bible is the first letter from Paul to the Corinthians. After we get through the rest of the Bible, my hopes are to start offering meditations on the symbolism in St Mary Church.
In this first letter that Paul writes to the Corinthians, we discover that the Church and its people were already heading in the wrong direction. The message of the Gospel was so new to humanity, it was difficult for them to grasp this new way. Already there is the question of whether or not Paul has apostolic authority. The people were being divided between Paul, Apollos and Cephas. Oddly enough, none of these three laid claims to any group as such. The rivalry was just made up. People questioned if Paul really knew Jesus. Many people already were claiming to have known Jesus – how were they to know? The Corinthians were somewhat of an unruly people to add to the difficulty. Paul writes in concern that they may lose their salvation by following false teachings. They start falling back into the old pagan rituals of religious prostitution. They also have issues with the Eucharistic celebration to divide the people even more. You can definitely sense the frustration Paul is going through. It is obvious that he takes the Corinthians as his own. There is a deep love and care for them that sets up his frustrations in guiding them to Jesus.
Paul starts out in the first verse of his letter by letting them know of his apostolic calling, but he does so in a greeting that is warm and loving. He extends a great apostolic blessing upon them, “Grace and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (v3). He is also reminding the people of the calling of Jesus for them. Paul states, “…to you who have been consecrated in Christ Jesus and called to be a holy people…” (v2). This is true for each and every one of us, here and today. It is one thing to say you have confidence in eternal salvation, but quite another to be holy. Jesus can extend his grace and salvation to whomever He wishes, holy or not. But for those who “call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” we are called to holiness of life (v2). That means living a life of virtue. This life of virtue strives toward a tendency to good, whereas vice and concupiscence tends towards what is evil. In some areas we do good, and in others not so good. This is where it is important to know yourself well. A daily examination of conscience is a good habit to know your strengths and weaknesses.
I suppose that is where many people despair. We do not know how to change. That’s ok, it’s really not your work. Jesus is there to help. WE just have to know what to give him. That is the purpose of the examination and going to confession. When we discover what we need, then we can ask Him to take whatever difficulties away. As we discern more of our strengths and weaknesses, we discover the wounds that need healing. The purpose of it is to be set free by Christ. This might be a good prayer to say: Lord Jesus, come and heal my troubled heart. You see all that others have done to me, come and heal the pain it has caused in my heart. Set me free from things that hold me down. Please forgive my weaknesses. My reaction to the offenses was not good or holy. Heal me from the affects of my sins and dispel any bad thoughts I have toward others. I give myself to you with all my sins and failures. Fill me with thoughts of holiness and give me the strength to do your holy will.