Frustration? Sarcasm? Do we really hear that today from Paul? Indeed we do. And no doubt, it is something that every parent—see the last words of today’s reading—has experienced at one time or another in dealing with difficult children.
The Corinthians were, at times, quite difficult. As we have heard over the last week or so, they were a community richly blessed with spiritual gifts (1:4-9). Some were economically prosperous. Despite their great enthusiasm for the Christian faith, their blessings had led to attitudes and behaviors that were unacceptable to Paul, their “father in Christ”: divisions and factions, self-imposed status and boasting, and lack of concern for the poor. Paul mentions others as well. Are our own communities prone to any of the same?
Paul writes not to shame, but to admonish, to correct the erring ways of his beloved children in Christ. They have yet to learn the wisdom of Christ, the wisdom of the cross, the
Wisdom that radically reverses the values, the status, and the behaviors of the world. Paul offers his own implementation of the Gospel teaching as an example: his lack of status and honor (at the time) and his behaviors in the face of ridicule, persecution, and slander. Have we made this wisdom our own?
If not, we have yet to put on the mind of Christ, we have yet to embrace his wisdom, we have yet to follow his way to truth and life.