Memory of the Church

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

2 Corinthians 11,1-11

I wish you would put up with a little foolishness from me -- not that you don't do this already. The jealousy that I feel for you is, you see, God's own jealousy: I gave you all in marriage to a single husband, a virgin pure for presentation to Christ. But I am afraid that, just as the snake with his cunning seduced Eve, your minds may be led astray from single-minded devotion to Christ. Because any chance comer has only to preach a Jesus other than the one we preached, or you have only to receive a spirit different from the one you received, or a gospel different from the one you accepted -- and you put up with that only too willingly. Now, I consider that I am not in the least inferior to the super-apostles. Even if there is something lacking in my public speaking, this is not the case with my knowledge, as we have openly shown to you at all times and before everyone. Have I done wrong, then, humbling myself so that you might be raised up, by preaching the gospel of God to you for nothing? I was robbing other churches, taking wages from them in order to work for you. When I was with you and needed money, I was no burden to anybody, for the brothers from Macedonia brought me as much as I needed when they came; I have always been careful not to let myself be a burden to you in any way, and I shall continue to be so. And as Christ's truth is in me, this boast of mine is not going to be silenced in the regions of Achaia. Why should it be? Because I do not love you? God knows that I do.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The "super-apostles" who wanted to discredit Paul and his mission, were probably some Judaeo-Christians who claimed, with assertive tones, that they were the interpreters of the original message of the community of Jerusalem. Furthermore they denigrated Paul's lack of eloquence. In his defence, the apostle claims first of all his love for the Corinthians. He acknowledges such a passionate love for them, to the point of being jealous. With the image of the Community as the bride of Christ, the apostle presents himself as the father who watches over her and keeps her to present her unblemished to the groom. It is an effective way to express the intensity with which he feels his pastoral responsibility. He watches carefully because he sees a repetition of the dramatic scene in the Garden of Eden, when Eve let the serpent deceive her, and, indeed, there were those who had been seduced by the serpent, by the "super-apostles," as Paul ironically calls his opponents, who preach a different gospel from the one he did. His purpose was to touch the hearts of his listeners to win them to Christ. This gain was his real reward, the only thing he cared about. This is why he wanted absolutely no compensation on the part of the Corinthians. He received help from the other communities ("I robbed other churches by accepting support from them in order to serve you"). In general, the apostles and itinerant missionaries were supported by the communities. Paul knew this rule, but he never wanted to partake in it. Indeed the gratuitousness of his preaching the Gospel in Corinth was for him a source of pride and strength; and it was also a sign of his care and love for that community. In the words of the apostle throbs his great love for the Gospel and for the community, for which he worked with so much energy and total gratuitousness and thus he showed a complete fatherly love. He writes that he will not change anything of his behaviour, so strong is his love for them. It is an example of passionate love that the Word of God presents to us today so that we can make it our own.