Do I need a masters to minister? Thursday,22nd week in ordinary time – 1 Corinthians 3:18-23

Repetition can be annoying but reiteration means that something important is being stressed even though it may be the same thought or principle being enunciated. Paul reiterates the importance of the person of Christ over those who were fascinated by the personalities who worked for Christ.

Chapter 2 and 3 of 1 Corinthians slavishly takes up two concerns that were plaguing the Corinthian community. The first of these concerns dealt with the Corinthians who were enamoured by the wisdom of the Greeks and their ability to present the ‘mysteries of their faith’ in clever and learned ways. Even though Corinth was a Roman colony inhabited by people of several nationalities, it still celebrated the Greek culture and Greek religious practices. The Greeks subscribed to cults, known as ‘mystery religions.’ The reason why these cults were called ‘mystery religions’ is because these cults incorporated secret ceremonies known only to those initiated into the cult and through which salvation was obtained.

The Christian doctrine of a crucified messiah seemed a pale shadow compared to the layers of mysteries by which these Greek cults dazzled their followers. Christianity’s ‘mystery of faith’ was simple and un-complex; Christ had died, he had risen and he will come again’. But this same message was blasphemous to the Jews and foolishness to the Greeks. There was a desire among some in the Corinthian community, to inject what seemed to the Greeks as a rather ‘drab ‘Christian faith, with the razzle and dazzle that these Greek cults had. Why, it seemed, could the Christian faith not be infused with the ‘smoke and mirror’ that made the Greek cults appear so wise and popular?

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