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