FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY FIRST READING
Our reading is a short sermon on what one can give God. God is not interested in strict rituals like fasting. Narrow obedience to ritual laws only cause us to fight among ourselves and to be cruel to those under our command when they don’t agree without us. What God wants from us is compassion for the suffering, mercy for the oppressed, sharing with the poor, and shelter for the homeless. There will follow rewards that I will not try to summarize because I would muddy the beautiful words of Isaiah.
First Corinthians 2:1-16
Paul may have been doing no more than explaining his mission to ordinary folk, but he hit upon a profound idea of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t speak with the “wisdom” of politicians and rulers, the very wisdom that lead them to crucify Jesus. People who think like that are foolish and will perish. Humans don’t instruct the Lord, as some rituals suggest, but the Lord leads us. God’s wisdom is hidden from the eyes of worldly people and is totally different from the wisdom of the powerful. Each of us knows (experiences) our own personal inner spirit, and God knows his Spirit. It is this Spirit that God mysteriously sends to us. As Isaiah had said, the Spirit reveals to us, not with eye or ear or even human heart, but still reveals “what God has prepared for those who love him.” Now we “receive” a Spirit of God that is beyond human understanding, and by it we understand God’s gifts, especially the gift of ChristJesus.
© Arthur H. Cash