“When people become Christians, they don’t, at the same moment, become nice,” says Eugene H. Peterson in his rendition of the Bible in contemporary language (THE MESSAGE). The Corinthian community was such a community of new Christians and they were not always nice! Though St. Paul was cognizant of this fact, his love for the people extended to both truths—the new life of the early Christian community and the fact that they needed correction of their old ways:
“Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened to you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.
“Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.
“(BUT) I have a serious concern to bring up with you, my friends, using the authority of Jesus, our Master. I’ll put it as urgently as I can: You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a life in common (1Cor 1).”
To me, St. Paul reads like Jesus or like Pope Francis. Would you agree? Perhaps you, too, like to read about yourselves in language crafted to our time, our situation, our need for praise and for correction. (You can check your electronic devices for THE MESSAGE: the Bible in Contemporary Language / Eugene H. Peterson).
I live in community. I have been given open access to God through baptism. I am not always nice, even as an octogenarian! How about you?
Renée Domeier, OSB
Photo shows Sister Theresa Lodermeier (l) with a friend