Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians contains a number of key themes that a reader might overlook.
The fact that so few lay Catholics in America deliberately choose celibacy is a sign of a worldly church. Marriage was, is, and will always be a wonderful vocation, but many early lay Christians chose celibacy as an alternative to marriage, rather than simply a preparation for it. Too frequently the consecrated life is seen as a calling reserved for clergy and religious.
Paul exhorts the Corinthians not to associate with immoral men who claim to be Christian. He knows that Christians ought to judge the bad that is among their community (Cf. 5:13). American contemporary Catholicism is so far removed from Paul’s pastoral spirit that those who seek significant reforms must be excruciatingly prudent in their judgments and actions. The duty of a Christian is to be his brother’s keeper, but never a busybody.
Charismatic gifts are prevalent within Acts and First Corinthians. These gifts are always at God’s disposal and proper spiritual discernment is always a requisite. One must never forget that the greatest of gifts is love.
One must not contextually dismiss Paul’s views on women and sexuality as irrelevant to this age. He ever seeks to have men and women compliment one another properly and avoid unnecessary contesting of leadership. One must never forget Paul’s exhortation in the Epistle to the Ephesians, ”Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (5:21). It is a tragedy of our age that self-assertion is the new golden rule.
Music: Moritz Moszkowski’s 4 Moments Musicaux Op. 84 – Maestoso, from the album Moments Musicaux, performed by Elizabeth Wolff. www.magnatune.com