Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s reading, St. Paul reminds the Corinthians about the core of their—and our—identity as Christians. St. Paul says that the good news of Jesus’ suffering, death, and resurrection is “of first importance.” That might be hard to believe sometimes. After all, a lot of things are important. Family, friends, school, work, sports, and music are all good, and key parts of our lives. Sometimes we can get overwhelmed by the sheer number of significant things swirling around us. I’ll bet the first-century Corinthians had trouble focusing on the “most important” thing too. They may not have had smartphones and 24-hour news like we do, but no matter what era we live in, it’s a constant temptation to put Jesus as priority #3 or #10 instead of “first importance.”
Who do I know who puts Jesus as the “first importance” in their life? What are some things I admire about that person? How are they a witness of God’s love? Am I someone who has Jesus at the center of my life, even when I’m really overwhelmed or busy? Am I confident in how much Jesus loves me and wants to be center of my life?
—Maggie Melchior is a convert to the Catholic faith. She currently serves as Coordinator of New Evangelization and Faith Formation at St. Paul Parish, Combined Locks, WI, in the Diocese of Green Bay.
“Jesus Christ loves you; he gave his life to save you; and now he is living at your side every day to enlighten, strengthen and free you.”
—Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel