BROTHERS and SISTERS, I appeal to you by the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s household that there are quarrels among you, my brothers and sisters. What I mean is that each of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Cephas,” or “I belong to Christ.”
Has Christ been divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one can say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)
For Christ did not send me to baptize but to proclaim the Gospel, and not with wisdom of words, so that the Cross of Christ might not be emptied of its power. For the message about the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
Those who are perishing and those who are being saved; the two groups mentioned by Saint Paul at the end of the Epistle reading for this Sunday. And the Cross of Christ is the cause for both.
First of all, what is "the message of the Cross?" The message of the Cross is that the One Who died upon it is the promised Messiah. But not only that, He is also the Son of God, and God Himself. And He not only died, but also resurrected and ascended, for the salvation of all.
A lot to take in? It may not be too much for us today, who kind of grew up with this message, even if we do not fully understand what it exactly means. However, to the people of the first century, this message was either foolishness or a sign of redemption.
Those who are perishing are the ones who choose sin and death, who choose to immerse themselves in their sins. The whole thing seems so unbelievable that they laugh at the Cross. Nevertheless, they are the authors of their own perishing. (Do not automatically assume that just because you have faith that you are not part of this group. It's not just about having faith, but also about not languishing in sin. Look at your own life with a critical Christian eye to see whether you are choosing sin over righteousness).
For those who are being saved the Cross is the power of God. "Being saved" is in the present tense; and therefore, it refers to the process by which the Cross transforms us with the power of God. We are transformed from the sinful, imperfect, and fallen human beings into those who imitate Christ's love towards others and ourselves.
So, the question to ask yourself, "Am I perishing or am I being saved?" The answer is hidden within our hearts and in our actions.
For last year's reflection, click here.
Yours in the Lord,
Father Aleksey - your friendly Singac priest