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Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time

1 Cor. 4:6-15 & Lk 6:1-5

It was natural for Saint Paul to take an interest in the Church at Corinth for the Christians there were his converts. He had spent some time with them, teaching them all that he himself had learnt from Christ.

But he was saddened to hear the alarming news that they had started to feel very superior and self-satisfied, regarding themselves as privileged people who deserved respect. And so Paul wrote to them a stern letter pointing out a few home truths.

He told them to look upon themselves as the Apostles did. They were willing to work hard with their own hands, enduring hunger, homelessness and the contempt of others in order to bring Christ's message to the world. Yet they did not boast about their achievements because they acknowledged that everything good they did was the work of God. Paul told them in a very pointed way that the Christian life is a life of service. Jesus is our model. He was God Himself but took the form of a slave and served all of us. What, therefore, gave the Corinthians the right to look upon themselves as kings, wanting to be served by others?

In today's Gospel the objection of the Pharisees seems very petty and small minded. Does it really matter if people pluck and shell a few grains of wheat while they walk through the field, whether it be the Sabbath or not? Jesus’ reaction is always right, of course, but I am surprised He even took the trouble to answer them!

In responding He reminded them of what happened when David and his men were hungry. The priest in the House of God gave them the loaves of offering which only the priests were allowed to eat. Jesus here indicated that love supersedes everything. In so many words Jesus was telling the Pharisees to stop their nit-picking and concern themselves with the things that really matter. When the Pharisees made their point there was no love in their heart for Jesus or His Apostles: their one aim was to indicate how much better they were because they kept the Law – except it was, of course, only their small minded interpretation of the Law!

Lord Jesus, give each one of us the grace of perseverance in our dealings with others, so that we may always act out of love and not belittle them.

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