A Penitent Blogger

Mindful of my imperfections, seeking to know Truth more deeply and to live Love more fully.

Quid sum miser tunc dicturus? Quem patronum rogaturus? Cum vix iustus sit securus?
Recordare, Iesu pie, Quod sum causa tuae viae: Ne me perdas illa die...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Politically Incorrect Word of God

Many of us try to be diplomatic.

Sometimes, however, it is necessary to be clear.

For St. Paul, as he was writing this part of this first letter to the Corinthians that we hear in today's first reading (1 Corinthians 6:1-11), it was a time to be very, very clear.

It was no longer sufficient to write vaguely about generic "sins of the flesh" impeding life in the Spirit. People in Corinth were being misled and so Paul had to be very clear.

Be not deceived:

neither fornicators,
nor idolaters,
nor adulterers,
nor effeminate,
nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
Nor thieves,
nor covetous,
nor drunkards,
nor revilers,
nor extortioners,
shall inherit the kingdom of God.

And such were some of you:

but ye are washed,
but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and by the Spirit of our God.

Sadly, many who hear passages like this focus on particular sins - sins with which they themselves have been involved or sins which they themselves find especially offensive.

Their reaction then is often either to reject the damning passage (or bury it with specious eisegesis) or to focus on the sinners they find personally repugnant.

In both cases, we ignore our own peril.

We need to be clear about sin, most especially our own sins (may God have mercy on me).

We need also to be clear about love and about grace, both of which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ gives us in overpowering abundance.

St. Paul is indeed politically incorrect and undiplomatic, but he is also being very clear and very real: bodily actions have spiritual implications and that there are a wide range of vices that are grossly inappropriate for the life of grace in Christ.

Know ye not
that your bodies are the members of Christ?

shall I then take the members of Christ,
and make them the members of an harlot?

God forbid.

What? know ye not
that he which is joined to an harlot
is one body?
for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
But he that is joined unto the Lord
is one spirit.

Flee fornication.

Every sin that a man doeth
is without the body;
but he that commiteth fornication
sinneth against his own body.

What? know ye not
that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost
which is in you, which ye have of God,
and ye are not your own?

For ye are bought with a price:

therefore glorify God in your body,
and in your spirit,
which are God's.