1Cor 3:1-9; Ps33:12-15,20,21; Lk 4:38-44
With today’s psalm we pray with all the saints that our soul wait for the LORD to have his way with us. We pray that we might recognize that the LORD is our help and our shield, that our hearts rejoice and live without fear, that we trust in the holy name of the LORD who has chosen us to be his own. Like the shepherd Saint Paul, we plead with the LORD to see ourselves as we are, God’s field, God’s building. Christ himself in today’s gospel models the heart of a missionary who knows in his heart of hearts that he has truly good news to share with all he meets, the good news the human soul longs to hear and believe.
This admonition from the good shepherd, Saint Paul, has to be both the most severe and the most gentle that he or any shepherd has ever given. The concern for their maturation in Christ and the love he had for his beloved church in Corinth is spoken with powerful authority and the greatest tenderness, “Indeed, you are still not able, even now, for you are still of the flesh.” Saint Paul had to feed them with milk, not solid food, because they we not able to receive it. They were still living according to the manner of man and not according to the manner of Christ, Our Lord and God. They were trying to build up their own fragile egos by claiming to belong to Paul or to Apollos. Identity with one of these great preachers gave some kind of importance to an immature believer. Yet, Saint Paul would not leave them in their infant state. He summoned them to true greatness by recognizing that the preacher who converted them did not make them important. Indeed, it is God who causes growth in the human heart; it is God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who makes us great. Mere men are those who plant or those who water the plants, and the Mystery of the God who dwells within the baptized is that which gives us our identity, our greatness. Indeed, we are God’s field and we produce for him a great harvest, and we are God’s building and we provide hospitality for all who are lost and hurting in our families, neighborhood, and world, even our enemies find in us the very kindness and mercy of God.
The Great Physician, Saint Luke, presents a very affirming vision of the apostles. They interceded with the Lord Jesus and he healed and continued to heal, not only Simon’s mother-in-law but also the whole crowd in the town. On the next morning, the Lord Jesus is approached while at prayer by the same crowd who tried to keep him to themselves. In Saint Mark’s gospel it is Simon Peter and the other apostles who try to keep Jesus in the town. Saint Luke wants us to see the apostles in the light of the Good Shepherd and to see them continuing the ministry of the Lord Jesus by healing, casting out demons, praying in deserted places, and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. Indeed, this is the mission of all who are the descendants of the apostles. We, too, share in this mission we who know that Jesus is the Son of God. We also know that we share in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and in the sonship of the Lord Jesus. It is our ministry and mission to make the Father’s Kingdom known by the witness of our lives. Indeed, this is our true greatness in the Church and in the world.