The key to unity

Anafora, October 2, 2021. The early Christians were faced with a difficult choice. What aspect of the life of Christ should be highlighted as they lived through tensions and divisions in the communities they had founded.

Should the focus be on Christ who works miracles and heals, or on Christ the master of wisdom? Should priority be given to the ethical teaching of the Sermon on the Mount? 

All these aspects are important, but they are universal: Christ is not the only one to work miracles, nor to deliver a teaching of wisdom, nor to propose an ethics.

The heart, the centrality of the Christian faith is the Cross and Resurrection of Christ, scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans, but for those who are saved it is the very power of God - the miracle of miracles - the very expression of the wisdom of God and the secret of the unity of the Christian community.

Jesus crucified does not realize the unity of humanity from above, but from below, serving in humility. It leaves room for the other and opens up to dialogue.

It is this God that humanity is waiting for today.

Let us now see some texts of Saint Paul!

 

A  community divided

In the community of Corinth, Paul's message is “ Jesus crucified ” with whom he is in deep communion, to the point that his whole person is imbued with his humility. 

Divided, the community of Corinth is indeed. And even deeply. Within it, clans are opposed. Some claim to be from Paul, others from Apollos (I Cor 3,4). Enmities arise between members to such an extent that lawsuits are brought (6,1-11).

Moral matters shake the Church (5,1ff). Some members continue to participate in rituals of their old religion (10,14ff).

The rich don't take care of the poor. The latter are discriminated against during the Lord's Supper (11,17-22). Some think that the dead do not rise and reject the resurrection of Christ (15,35ss)

Jesus crucified, the key

Now see how Paul went about calling the Corinthians to overcome their divisions! He tells them only one thing that he will explain in many ways:

"I have judged it good, among you, not to know anything other than Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ crucified" (I Cor 2,2)

Jesus crucified : this is the key to unity for the apostle! But what does he mean by these two words? And why did he not want to know anything other than Jesus crucified among this community?

For Paul, the cross is not only that terrible moment when Jesus hangs on a tree in Jerusalem. The shadow of the cross brushes the whole life and ministry of Jesus. It is the symbol of the humility with which Jesus lived everything.

 

The key to unity is…
living the humility of Jesus which is the hallmark of his love.
this love is "the way superior to everything", (12,31)
this love, we must ask the Holy Spirit to pour it into our hearts,
this love is greater and more desirable than the most excellent charismatic gifts,
this love is the promise of the messianic times.

Paul was convinced of this: death could not hold Jesus crucified. God resurrected him and now the Risen One is alive among us forever.

His will is to infuse his humility into our hearts. He gives us his Spirit to make us workers of truth and righteousness. The fruit of his work in our lives is peace and unity in the community.

This call from Paul is of permanent relevance: only the gaze towards Jesus crucified and risen can bring a little truth in the midst of confusion and a little peace in a world where one never ceases to accuse each other. others.

As it is the sign of Christ, humility is the mark of Christians. By living it, they allow the fragile presence of the Risen One in their midst. (Mt. 18.20s). To sit at our table, Jesus stands at the door, he does not force our freedom. It is our humility that opens the door to him. It is she who attracts him. 

He seeks in us what characterizes him. Humility unites and contains the Risen One. But pride divides and closes the door to him. When the Risen One is present among us, there is hope for the Church. It is he who renews it, enlightens it, heals it, reconciles it, makes it shine and attracts a multitude to him. 

It is he alone, the Risen One crucified in our midst who makes his Church one, holy, catholic and apostolic when we live and share his humility. 

Martin Hoegger - www.hoegger.org