Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that has been given you in Christ Jesus, for in every way you have been enriched in him, in speech and knowledge of every kind— just as the testimony of Christ has been strengthened among you— so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
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.
I have never accused St. Paul of being a man of few words. As a lector, his writings always feel like huge run on sentences with lots of commas. When reading, I tend to gloss over his introductions which set out who is writing and who is being written to. For some reason, though, today’s introduction caught me. At the very beginning of his letter to the people in Corinth, rather than jumping right into business Paul reminds them of the very core of their identity, specifically “those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus.”
My days typically begin when I groggily stumble out of bed and pick up my phone to see what has happened in the world since I went to bed. Checking my email and Instagram are such a habit that I do them almost entirely without thinking. What would my day look like if the first thing I did was remind myself–like Paul reminds the Corinthians–that I am a beloved child of God. What difference would it make in my outlook on the day if I first rooted myself in my identity as a disciple?
I can ask myself the same question about my interactions with others. Despite having some problems within the Corinthian community that he has to address later in his letter, he begins with the recognition that they are brothers and sisters in Christ, and wishes them them grace and peace of God. What would my relationships look like if I began each encounter by reminding myself that I am speaking with one of God’s beloved children?
Maybe Paul’s introductions aren’t something I should be skipping over at all.
—Lauren Gaffey is the Program Director of Charis Ministries, a part of the Ignatian Young Adult Ministries outreach of the Office of Ignatian Spirituality. She also works with Jesuit Connections in Chicago and other programs of the Midwest Jesuits.
as I begin this day
help me to pause
and rest a moment in your love.
May all of my actions
spring forth from you,
and may I share this love
with all those I meet.
Use me as your instrument
to bring peace and love
into my relationships
and into my community.