LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING

“As your fellow workers we beg you not to receive the grace of God in vain.” –2 Corinthians 6:1

Much of 2 Corinthians is devoted to St. Paul’s defense of his apostleship. Traveling evangelists demeaned Paul’s apostleship to build up their own ministries. This situation can still exist in churches today. Paul’s accusers were evangelists who accepted money for their services, a practice which Paul himself recommended at least once (1 Tm 5:17). Paul had a calling from God to preach “the gospel free of charge” (1 Cor 9:18) while working to support himself. As a result, Paul’s accusers saw themselves as qualified “professionals” superior to the “amateur” Paul and his team. These quasi-professionals did all they could to undermine Paul’s ministry, calling him an impostor (2 Cor 6:8), unskilled (2 Cor 11:6), and unimpressive (2 Cor 10:10), among other charges.

Experienced, trained church personnel might be similarly tempted to look down upon parish volunteers such as catechists, musicians, and others who sincerely, humbly, and prayerfully try to serve the Lord. A group of “ragtag” volunteers such as Paul’s team can make an entire church staff appear on paper to be disorganized, unprofessional, and inferior.

Church professionals have trained hard and long to devote themselves to God’s service. Thank God for them! Nevertheless, St. Paul would warn: “As your fellow workers we beg you not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor 6:1). Church professionals were the group Jesus most severely condemned. Let us all humble ourselves so we do not squelch a future St. Paul.

PRAYER: Father, may we always conduct “ourselves with innocence, knowledge, and patience, in the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor 6:6).

PROMISE: “He has remembered His kindness and His faithfulness toward the house of Israel.” –Ps 98:3

PRAISE: It was through seeking to better understand the Catholic faith in order to pass it on to her children that Sarah experienced a new birth in the Spirit.

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