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(Part 67)


November 9, 2013
Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 3:9-17

Who or what are we? Paul, writing to the Corinthians, says, “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:9). In other words, all of us are the people of God. That basically means two things: evangelization and holiness. We are to be the body of Christ that will proclaim the gospel of Christ. We are set apart by God to share in His divine work. To be set apart is to be holy. “For the temple of God, which you are, is holy.” (1 Cor 3:17b).

In all this the focus is always Christ, “for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely, Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 3:11).This is why we in CFC-FFL have as our very first Core Value being centered on Christ.

  • We are to be holy as God is holy.
  • We are to evangelize because Jesus sends us to do so, and what we do is to proclaim Christ.
  • Being God’s building, the Holy Spirit resides in us. We as individuals are temples of the Holy Spirit, and collectively are God’s edifices--whether it is the family, the Christian community or parish, or the universal Church.

Thus every Christian, who carries the name of Christ and professes to be his disciple, is to build. Some of us, like Paul, are “like a wise master builder (who) laid a foundation” while others are “building upon it.” (1 Cor 3:10b). This is purely “according to the grace of God given to (us)” (1 Cor 3:10a). Given God’s graciousness and the importance of the work given to us, “each one must be careful how he builds upon it.” (1 Cor 3:10c).

Now we all have different gifts and talents. We may build “on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw.” (1 Cor 3:12). But all are important to the overall work. Each one has a contribution that helps build up the body to enable it to do its work. As such, each of us will be accountable for our own work. As God is the one to judge, “the work of each will come to light, for the Day will disclose it.” (1 Cor 3:13a). Then we will either pass or fail. “If the work stands that someone built upon the foundation, that person will receive a wage. But if someone’s work is burned up, that one will suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:14-15a). Wage or loss, it will be up to us and to how we have worked.

Now this task of building the body that will do God’s divine work is so important that we will not only be judged according to our work, but woe to us if we do things that would weaken the foundation or even destroy the building. “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person” (1 Cor 3:17a).

Now while there are those who will deliberately seek to destroy God’s body, we who are part of the body would not think of doing so. But we might unwittingly be doing things that weaken the body. In what instances could that happen?

  • When we gossip, and end up putting our brethren down. Pope Francis calls such people as Christian murderers!
  • When we judge or malign our brethren. Only God can judge, and a Christian, who should be loving, should not malign others, especially their co-workers. Maligning others, especially leaders, leads to strife and disunity, thus weakening the body, perhaps even destroying it.
  • When we are not proper stewards of what God has entrusted to us--our time, talent and treasure. If we deprive the body of these, we weaken its life and mission.
  • When we do not obey Jesus’ command to go and proclaim the gospel. We fail to share Christ, which is the task of every Christian.

So each of us are called to holiness, as part of the body of Christ, in order to be used by God to do His work. We need to recognize the profound reality of who and what we are. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor 3:16). If we did know, if we did realize how important our calling is, then we will truly strive to be holy, to build and not destroy the body, and to be God’s co-workers.

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