Friday, June 12, 2009

Lectionary clue

I love today's passage from 2 Corinthians--the letter is a showcase of Paul's personality and talents as a writer. And this passage is extraordinarily rich in terms of how it presents Paul's understanding of his own mission. But the way the lectionary tweaks it, we have a special angle to use in interpreting the text.
Actually, the only tweak comes in the middle of the first paragraph: Paul is referring to himself and his apostolic collaborators, "always carrying about in the Body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body." That uppercase "B" in body hints that the "body" in question is not Paul's, but Christ's--and that, like Paul, we too can "complete in our body what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the Church" (that's Colossians 1:24). The "dying" of Jesus is mysteriously ongoing in time, even though he has already won the definitive victory! There is room for us, even a role for us, in "the sufferings of Christ."
In case we missed the point, Paul says it again: "For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh."
Still unclear on the concept? Paul patiently sums it up: "So death is at work in us, but life in you" ("for the sake of his body, the Church").
The Mystical Body, offers the world in "real time" a diptych of the Gospel in the flesh (in our flesh): the dying and the rising of Jesus "for us." This is evangelization!

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