The format for the readings for Sunday Mass in Ordinary Time – that is when the priest is in green vestments – is arranged very carefully. The Gospel for the year is either Matthew, Mark, or Luke, and is read straight through week by week. The first reading is from the Old Testament and is chosen to highlight something about the Gospel. The second reading, usually from St Paul, is not connected to the other readings and is also read consecutively over a three-year cycle. It is often neglected, but as we will be reading the 1st letter of Paul to the Corinthians, a true Christian masterpiece, from now until Lent I thought it a good idea to say a few things about it.
Now although it is not chosen to reflect any particular passage of St. Matthew’s gospel which we will be reading these weeks as well, they do share some interesting similarities not only in theology but in the social makeup of their communities.
Both were written to congregations which were composed of born Jews and born Gentiles, but who all considered themselves Christians. Antioch, where Matthew was very likely written, was a very large and cosmopolitan city; Corinth was the wild west. It is situated in the narrowest part of Greece, its waist and a natural transport spot. Travelling by sea was very dangerous and it made financial sense to pull into Corinth, unload the cargo, bring it across the isthmus to another port, put it on anther ship and sail away. This attracted a very rugged group of people, both Jew and Greek and provided a laboratory on how the Christian message can be misheard. Continue reading “2nd Sunday Ordinary Time – Fr. Smith Homily”