Memorial of Saint Gregory the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church

Lectionary: 436

Learn from myself and Apollos not to go beyond what is written, so that none of you will be inflated with pride
in favor of one person over against another.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a useful saying, and typical of their good humor: KISS, Keep it simple, Stupid!

Simply is the best way to approach the mysteries of our faith. Hearing the Word of God, before we even think about it we should "taste and see the goodness of the Lord." Realizing that we have been privileged we need not dwell upon the privilege but we stop and let the pleasure of hearing God's voice turn aside any distractions that might be hovering nearby. 

Sometimes, when people approach a routine evening meal, they begin by criticising the food, its smell and appearance and general presentation. Some might pick at it, trying to discover if it's edible; others simply turn up the nose and reach for the peanut butter. Wouldn't it be better to thank God for the food and prepare our mouths, lips, tongues and palates  for delight and satisfaction? With that same openness we receive the Word of God. 

With that attitude of delight we're less likely to "go beyond what is written" as the Corinthians were apparently doing. In today's selection from I Corinthians Saint Paul continues to urge his disciples to set aside their difference, especially their absurd quarrel between "Paul's disciples" -- he disavows their loyalty -- and "Apollos' disciples." Their creating factions is all the more ridiculous since he and Apollos have no quarrel! 

What do they expect to get out of their feuding? Surely not some kind of superior edge. 

In a parental attempt to "admonish" them back into line he reminds them that he has gained nothing from the Gospel except disrepute, hunger, thirst and ill treatment! How can they expect any worldly satisfaction when their "father" is treated so badly? 

Finally, the Apostle reminds his disputing disciples they have only one father. A quarreling congregation, torn by dissension, suspicion and animosity cannot know the Truth. Distancing themselves from one another, they move ever farther from the Lord of Truth and the Apostle whose heart is breaking. 

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.