1 Corinthians 14:12b-20
This is an exciting day! Today we get to welcome a new Christian into our fellowship.
And this is a wonderful time of year to do just that. We have just recently celebrated the birthday of Jesus, and his baptism, and his revelation to the world.
Baptism is the sacrament of New Birth, that cleanses us from the stain of original sin, and regenerates us into the new life in Christ Jesus.
In addition to the Baptism, I will seal our newest Christian with the Holy Spirit, and mark her as Christ’s own forever. The Spirit of Christ will come to dwell in her spirit, and her name will be written in the Book of Life.
With the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ comes with the gifts of the Spirit. St. Paul addressed the Corinthians in the words we heard today from the 14th chapter of the first letter.
The first verse of this chapter reads, “Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts…”
When we make love our aim, in everything that we do, we do so in the Name of Christ.
The Love of Christ is our guide. As we hear at the beginning of every mass, Jesus answers the question, which is the greatest Commandment?
Hear what our Lord Jesus saith:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with
all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great
commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt
love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments
hang all the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 22:37-40
Through his many Parables, Jesus taught his disciples, including us, how to love the Lord our God, and how to love each other.
This love is not the all permissive “if it feels good do it” sort of love that we see in the world today, but a sort of love that seeks the best in every person. And loving another person is not a safe thing to do.
C.S. Lewis wrote, “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal.” (The Four Loves)
For some, loving oneself is the easiest love. There is no risk, and not much reward, either.
Loving others, now there is the challenge! So many people in this world just insist on being unlovable!
Loving others, as Christ would have us do, means being vulnerable. Others may take advantage of one’s love. But loving involves forgiving. And many people find that very hard to do.
I have found that once someone experiences the forgiveness of sins by our Lord, then forgiving others becomes possible.
There are nine spiritual gifts as mentioned in St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians,
love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
These gifts are available to all of us because of the Spirit of Christ that dwells in us. And they will be available to Cassandra when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell with her spirit.
And the end of this passage, St. Paul wrote, “Brethren, do not be children in your thinking; be babes in evil, but in thinking be mature.”
He was telling the Corinthians that they must be mature in regards to their actions in the Church. Their goal is not to impress others, but to build up the Church. They could not do that as long as they were in competition about their ability to speak in other languages. When they did that they were not making Love their aim. They were instead of building up the church, they were building up their egos.
To be a babe in evil means to resist the temptations to sin, and not to be attracted to the sinful ways of the more mature. He counseled them, and us, to be mature in our thinking. In other worlds, we should think of the ways to build up the church, the body of Christ.
Firstly, making love our aim, we can
invite others into fellowship with us. We can welcome visitors, we
can deepen our understanding of Holy Scripture, and build up our
prayer lives. This is the Christian life that we live, and that we
will initiate for Cassandra today.