Open Yourselves To Us
Paul continues his appeal for reconciliation with the Corinthians. It is possible that with the good news Titus brought about the Corinthians, there was also some concern from this latter about Paul’s state of mind. Perhaps they expressed to Titus the feeling that Paul would make good his threats when he returns for another visit. To dispel all doubts, Paul tells the Corinthians that all offenses to his person has been forgotten. Paul’s rhetoric moves in two directions. In order to tell the Corinthians that all is forgotten, he talks about their death and recreation in Christ and then drives home the point about God’s reconciling act in Christ. He continues his appeal by underlining his sincerity. From verses 3 to 10, Paul, through a series of contrasts similar to the one found in 4:8-11, he underlines the sincerity of his intentions. Finally, in vv. 11-13, he completes his appeal:
We have spoken frankly to you, Corinthians; our heart is open wide. You are not constrained by us; you are constrained by your own affections. As recompense in kind (I speak as to my children), be open yourselves. (2Corinthians 6:11-13)
The liturgy for Monday cuts off after verse 10. Perhaps this was to underscore Paul’s description of the minister of God whose only reward the privilege of proclaiming the gospel. However, in 6:1-2 it is clear that Paul is simply continuing what has gone before. The quotation is from Isaiah 49:8. When Paul says “Behold, this is the appointed time; this is the time of salvation”, he is highlighting the call of the moment. Isaiah 49:8 is part of a text where God tells the Suffering Servant to get on with his mission of calling Israel. Once more, therefore, we find Paul identifying his work as an extension of the Paschal Mystery. He is like the Suffering Servant through whom God tells Israel “In the appointed time I listened to you; on the day of salvation I helped you.”
“The day of salvation” is the day when God reconciled all things in Christ through the Cross. Paul therefore by presenting himself as an image of the Suffering Servant, identifies himself as that minister through whom the Corinthians are to be reconciled with God. They have exchanged the gospel they have received from Paul with something different, and now that they have realized their error, are called to reconcile with God, an act that they carry out in their reconciliation with Paul. Thus, Paul’s appeal in vv. 11-13. He has expressed himself honestly, he now invites the Corinthians to open their hearts to him.
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