February 12, 2012 — Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Corinthians were largely Gentile Christians, having converted to Christianity without Jewish roots. Meanwhile, many of the early Christians were Jewish converts, so they were of the belief that all Christians ought to follow Jewish laws and customs, namely not eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols. Yet, the Corinthians understood that the idols to which the meat was offered did not exist, so to them, consuming the meat was not a grave wrong. At the same time, however, they recognized that their pagan neighbors, believing the idols to exist, took a certain delight in the Christians consuming such meat.
Recognizing the conundrum in which the Corinthians found themselves, Paul encouraged them, reminding them that the most important thing was that they glorify God in all they do, being careful, at the same time, not to offend those around them, “just as I try to please everyone in every way, that they may be saved,” he wrote.
We live in a very different world today, and our understanding of Church law has evolved greatly over the years, yet the goal of our lives is one and the same. We are striving to be Christian disciples, to give ourselves to Christ in service and to follow His example. And we face many opposing forces as well. Indeed, everywhere we turned we are face-to-face with people encouraging us to turn away, encouraging us to submit to the relativistic culture that is so prevalent in our society, to choose whatever is easy or enjoyable for me in the moment.
Our calling as stewards requires us to look beyond the here and now, to look beyond what feels good at the time and focus on the cross, seeing in it the selfless sacrificial love that defined Christ’s life here on Earth and, in all things to give God the glory.
He deserves it.
He is the all-powerful Lord we serve. He has given us every good gift. He has gifted us beyond our wildest dreams, like the lepers in the first reading and the Gospel today, God has blessed us beyond belief and we ought to shout His praise from the rooftop.
In today’s gospel, Mark tells of a leper whom Jesus heals, and, though Jesus asked Him not to say anything, the man couldn’t help himself. He went all about the town praising Jesus for His good works, giving Him the credit for the miracle.
Likewise, we ought to proclaim the good news of what God has done. We ought to use all that God has given us — our time, our talents and our treasure to praise and glorify Him, letting all who see or hear us know that He is the one worthy of praise. He is the great gift giver.
All praise and glory to God!