Live Five To Be Alive
Thursday: Twenty-First Week of the Year: August 25, 2016
Year II: 1Corinthians 1:1-9; Psalm 145:2-7; Matthew 24:42-51
The Responsorial reminds us we must praise in order to appreciate: “I will praise your name forever, Lord.”
As we begin reading 1Corinthians (1:1-9), Paul praises the Corinthians and thanks God for the graces given them. At the same time he sums up for them the five essentials of the Christian life so that, seeing it in clear focus, they might appreciate it more and live it more consistently.
First he reminds them of their identity. “I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus.” They are the “holy people of Jesus Christ,” “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints” (New Revised Standard Version translation). They have “become Christ” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 795).
To this end they have been called to discipleship: Paul thanks God that “you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers.” “In every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind.”
They are consecrated by Baptism to bear witness to Christ as prophets. Paul affirms that “the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you.” Their witness is, theologically, the “testimony of Christ” himself, risen and living within them (cp. NRSV).
Because they are also consecrated in Baptism as priests, being members of the one and only Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 7:21-25; 9:11 to 10:14), they are “not without any of the gifts of the Spirit.” Paul will insist later that these gifts are given for ministry. “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good…. for building up the church” (1Corinthians 12:7; 14:12, 26). To be a Christian is to mediate the life of God to others in love as ministers and instruments of Jesus Christ.
Finally, Paul says they are to do this “while waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed.” He assures them that God “will keep you steady and without blame until the last day.” This is a reminder of our Baptismal consecration as “kings” or faithful stewards of the kingship of Christ. We are charged to take responsibility for establishing the reign of God over every area and activity of human life on earth until he comes again.
To make these five mysteries, promises and commitments our Christian way of life, we need to remind ourselves of them constantly. “I will praise your name forever, Lord.”
In Matthew 24: 42-51 Jesus focuses on the last two elements in our “job description” as Christians: our baptismal consecration as priests and stewards of Christ’s kingship. “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other servants their allowance of food at the proper time?” It is every Christian consecrated by Baptism to ministry and to responsible leadership in trying to fulfill all the needs of God’s household. “Blessed is the one whom the master will find at work when he arrives.” That one has reason to say, “I will praise your name forever, Lord.”
Initiative: Give God’s life: Be a “priest in the Priest.” Feed all his sheep until Christ comes again.