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Understanding the things of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10b-16)

Submitted by on Tuesday, 31 August 2010No Comment


Today’s Readings

  • Reading I: 1 Corinthians 2:10b-16
  • Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145
  • Gospel Reading: Luke 4:31-37

Paul has been accused of being “weak” in discourse and for this reason has himself contributed to the divisions in the Corinthian community. In answering this attack on his credibility, Paul has explained that when he came, it was not to proclaim the gospel using eloquence, so that the faith of the Corinthians would depend not on his qualities as a speaker, but on the power of God alone. Paul continues his discussion about the wisdom of God, which earlier he described as “foolishness of the proclamation” meant for “the salvation of those who have faith. (1:21).

The wisdom of God, he says, has been hidden but now revealed through the Spirit (2:6-10). Just as the spirit within man knows the man’s thoughts and intentions hidden from others, so too, the Spirit scrutinizes the hidden thoughts of God (2:10b-11). This Spirit has been given to the baptized so that they too may understand those things that God desires to be revealed to them (v. 12).

In speaking about these realities, Paul does not use the embellishments of acceptable human discourse, but the language itself that the Spirit teaches, “describing spiritual realities in spiritual terms” (v. 13) This kind of language is unintelligible to the unspiritual man. The scholastics would say, this is so because there is no connaturality between the unspiritual man and the language of the Spirit. It would be like talking in Chinese to one who understands only Malayalem. For this latter what is being said would be gibberish, “foolishness” as Paul would say (v. 14). The spiritual person however would understand the language of the Spirit. And because he enjoys this connaturality with the Spirit and with the mind of God, he also shares in this latter’s exemption from human judgment (v. 15). It is for this reason that Paul has been unintelligible to those who think his proclamation sounds foolish. The Corinthians have been unspiritual and their present situation proves it (3:1 ff).

1 Corinthians 2:10
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10But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
Luke 4:31-37
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31And he went down into Capharnaum, a city of Galilee, and there he taught them on the sabbath days.
32And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his speech was with power.
33And in the synagogue there was a man who had an unclean devil, and he cried out with a loud voice,
34Saying: Let us alone, what have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the holy one of God.
35And Jesus rebuked him, saying: Hold thy peace, and go out of him. And when the devil had thrown him into the midst, he went out of him, and hurt him not at all.
36And there came fear upon all, and they talked among themselves, saying: What word is this, for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they go out?
37And the fame of him was published into every place of the country.

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