MONDAY OF THE TWENTY-THIRD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
1 Corinthians 5:1-8
Brothers and sisters:
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; for a man is living with his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you?
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present I have already pronounced judgment in the name of the Lord Jesus on the man who has done such a thing. When you are assembled, and my spirit is present with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not a good thing. Do you not know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch, as you really are unleavened. For our paschal lamb, Christ, has been sacrificed. Therefore, let us celebrate the festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
Psalm 5:4-6, 12
For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil will not sojourn with you. The boastful will not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.
You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult in you.
On another sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught, and there was a man there whose right hand was withered. The scribes and the Pharisees watched him to see whether he would cure on the sabbath, so that they might find an accusation against him. Even though he knew what they were thinking, he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come and stand here.” He got up and stood there. Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the sabbath, to save life or to destroy it?” After looking around at all of them, he said to him, “Stretch out your hand.” He did so, and his hand was restored. But they were filled with fury and discussed with one another what they might do to Jesus.
After reading the first reading in Corinthians, we can substitute a variety of unholy acts today for ‘a man living with his father’s wife’. What if the apostle was writing, “There is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not found even among pagans; men are having relations with young boys and trying to legalize it.” Or, “There is widespread killing among you; politicians are proudly championing the right to murder newborn infants.” Or, “Men are marrying other men.”
St. Paul goes on: “And you are arrogant! Should you not rather have mourned, so that he who has done this would have been removed from among you?”
God expects us to mourn and cry out to him to be saved from the influence of sin and evil. A little leaven corrupts the whole loaf. We must judge and try to remove serious sins from our society.
St. Paul says he judges in the name of Jesus, something that people are loathe to do these days. But we see in the gospel that the scribes and Pharisees condemned Jesus for healing a man on the Sabbath day. They judged. They could not even answer Jesus about whether he could do godly works on the Sabbath. They became furious and decided to kill him.
God “hates all evildoers… destroys those who speak lies; abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful.” But God allowed this situation in the gospel to reveal to the Pharisees their irrational thinking and that they were not in union with the Holy Spirit. Jesus performed a creative healing miracle but they were going to find fault with him anyway.
God allows us to be tested and he gives us freedom to sin but he only allows immorality for a time. There are always negative consequences to sin and He will strike it from our midst. Let us mourn and grieve the sins of our Church, our own sins and those of our world and call upon the Lord to deliver us from the power of Satan.