Prayer for the sick

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Reading of the Word of God

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

This is the Gospel of the poor,
liberation for the imprisoned,
sight for the blind,
freedom for the oppressed.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

1 Corinthians 8, 1-13

Now about food which has been dedicated to false gods. We are well aware that all of us have knowledge; but while knowledge puffs up, love is what builds up.

Someone may think that he has full knowledge of something and yet not know it as well as he should;

but someone who loves God is known by God.

On the subject of eating foods dedicated to false gods, we are well aware that none of the false gods exists in reality and that there is no God other than the One.

Though there are so-called gods, in the heavens or on earth -- and there are plenty of gods and plenty of lords-

yet for us there is only one God, the Father from whom all things come and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things come and through whom we exist.

However, not everybody has this knowledge. There are some in whose consciences false gods still play such a part that they take the food as though it had been dedicated to a god; then their conscience, being vulnerable, is defiled,

But of course food cannot make us acceptable to God; we lose nothing by not eating it, we gain nothing by eating it.

Only be careful that this freedom of yours does not in any way turn into an obstacle to trip those who are vulnerable.

Suppose someone sees you, who have the knowledge, sitting eating in the temple of some false god, do you not think that his conscience, vulnerable as it is, may be encouraged to eat foods dedicated to false gods?

And then it would be through your knowledge that this brother for whom Christ died, vulnerable as he is, has been lost.

So, sinning against your brothers and wounding their vulnerable consciences, you would be sinning against Christ.

That is why, if food can be the cause of a brother's downfall, I will never eat meat any more, rather than cause my brother's downfall.


Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

The Son of Man came to serve,
whoever wants to be great
should become servant of all.

Praise to you, o Lord, King of eternal glory

In Paul’s time, eating meat sacrificed to idols had become such a serious problem that it caused major divisions within the community. We should not forget that many Christians were still living in the houses of their pagan relatives or belonged to groups that celebrated their anniversaries and birthdays with sacrifices to the gods and then ate the meat that had been offered. Faced with the divisions that had arisen over this subject, the apostle clearly affirms that the real sin is in fact the division between the brothers and sisters; the real sin is to cause others distress, even when we think we are in the right. It is not knowledge that saves; it is not knowing things and asserting them as if hitting someone with a cane that saves; but, rather, it is love that saves. With these words, Paul affirms the absolute primacy of love: law is always just a teacher, a way to compensate for the lack of love; what really counts is building up the community of believers, which is a sign of the unity of the entire human family. “But take care,” Paul says, “that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling-block to the weak.” It is as if to say that the liberty of a Christian should only be used to love and to build up, not to do what we think is right: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (v. 1). Christ paid a dear price in order to build up the Christian community. It is not our convictions or our traditions, even if they are correct, that build up the community, but only the Spirit of love that the Lord gives to his disciples. There is great pastoral wisdom in these words of the apostle, a wisdom that we find in many pastors throughout the centuries of Christian tradition. It is the wisdom of accompanying the spiritual growth of the faithful, neither by straining nor being lazy, but, with a motherly spirit, nourishing them sometimes with milk and sometimes with solid food, and cultivating in the hearts of the faithful the stature and the feelings of Christ.