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Twenty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

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HOW DOES OUR HEART RECEIVE GOD'S WORD?

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The Christians in the church at Corinth were worried about the life to come. Most of them came from a Greek background that believed the soul would live forever once it was freed from the 'prison house' of the body. But Saint Paul insisted that the redeemed would be given a resurrected body on the last day.

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RECOGNISING OUR SPIRITUAL POVERTY

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The Corinthian Christians believed in Christ's Resurrection but not in the resurrection of the body. Greek philosophy saw the body as a prison for the soul. At death, the soul was set free and therefore immortality was an endowment only of the soul.

Saint Paul teaches that the truth of Christ's Resurrection is the promise of the resurrection of the soul and the body. If the only kind of resurrection is immortality of the soul, then Christ was not truly raised from the dead. But the truth of our faith is that Christ was fully raised from the dead and therefore so will we be.

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WE ARE ALL IN NEED OF CHRIST’S FORGIVENESS

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Hard-headed rationalists boast that they only believe what they are able to discover for themselves. That kind of boast may impress people who aspire to become independent thinkers. But the only problem with this proud claim is that no one actually believes it!

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JESUS' WAY IS THE ONLY WAY

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What is real love? Saint Paul gives us the criteria. Real love is patient and kind, not jealous nor snobbish. Real love does not put on airs and is never rude. It is not selfish and resentful. There is no limit to love's forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure. That's what real love is all about. Paul advises us to aim for this real love.

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THE COMPASSIONATE CHRIST

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One of the great images of the Church as a body is given by Saint Paul in today's first reading. Just as a body has many parts, so does the Church. The body for its best functioning needs all the parts to interact. As we get older, we realize what happens to our overall health when our hearing becomes less acute, our sight less sharp, our legs less strong, our vitality more diminished. So, in the Church, we need all the parts to function well. Not everyone is a bishop nor a priest. The gifts or parts of the Body of Christ are distributed among the baptised.

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THE VALUE OF CONFLICT

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Saint Paul was greatly concerned to preserve the unity of the church at Corinth. He believed like many of us do that doctrinal and liturgical divisions among Christians are an embarrassment if not a scandal. After all, we all worship the same God, follow the same Lord and read the same Bible. How can the world take us seriously when we cannot get our act together within the church?

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THE CROSS IS ESSENTIAL TO THE LIFE OF A CHRISTIAN

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Is, 50: 5-9; Mark 8: 27-35

There are so many things to admire about Jesus. One of them is His calm and serene disposition throughout His life - despite the fact that He knew what suffering was in store for Him. Today's first reading from Isaiah foretold this. Yet when we witness the calm way He conducts His life we would never have thought that He had any idea of what would have to be endured.

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HOW DOES OUR HEART RECEIVE GOD'S WORD?

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1 Tim. 6:13-16 & Lk. 8:4-15

The importance of perseverance is stressed in today's first reading. Human nature being what it is, we are inclined to become weary and tire of doing good, and would relish some relief from constantly trying. Among people in the modern world perseverance is lacking: they are easily bored, always looking for something new and different, and have little patience in being committed to large or small matters.

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RECOGNISING OUR SPIRITUAL POVERTY

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1 Tim. 6:2-12 & Lk. 8:1-3

Timothy is being encouraged to teach sound doctrine by Saint Paul in today's first reading. To teach otherwise would be ignorant and full of self-conceit leading to jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another.

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WE ARE ALL IN NEED OF CHRIST’S FORGIVENESS

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1 Tim. 4:12-16 & Lk. 7:36-50

The young Timothy is being encouraged and counselled by Saint Paul in today's first reading: his age does not mean he has nothing to offer because the way he speaks, and his manner of living, can influence people for good or bad.

He has been empowered by the laying on of hands. He must use his time profitably by reading to the people and taking great care about what he teaches and how he preaches. All this is good advice to every young priest.

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