There is a problem in the Church at Corinth. After Paul’s departure it seems that others have arrived and begun preaching a slightly different ‘Christian’ Gospel. Paul now writes to the Corinthians to call them back to the Gospel he ahs preached to them. He asks them to look at his sincerity and integrity in proclaiming the Gospel and compare it with the other preachers. It seems that the later preachers have demanded fees for their services.

There is nothing wrong with a workman, preacher or otherwise receiving some sort of remuneration in order to live. However, it seems that Paul thinks that the preachers who followed him were somewhat extortionate in their demands and therefore he feels he can question their integrity. He, Paul preached the Gospel out of sheer love for the same and asked for no payment. Surely this shows a greater commitment than those who demand payment and as such indicates that his form of the Gospel is purer than the others’ preaching.

We all receive the Gospel as free gift and thus ought to be willing to give it away just as freely. One of the great temptations to scandal throughout the life of the Church has been its relationship with wealth. There is nothing wrong per se with wealth as long as one person’s acquisition of wealth, and that includes the Church, is not detrimental to the development of the lives of the poor. Thus we have the modern day expression that calls the Church to be a Church of the Poor.

What does this really mean? No one should be deprived of the sacraments due to lack of money! The Church’s first priority ought to be directed toward serving the poorest in its midst. Quite often it is the rich who have the greater availability of Church services because they are rich. Somehow this has to be balanced by the focus of any Parish being to bring the fullness of Church life to those to whom it may not be so readily available. The degree to which we belong to a Church identified with the poor will be indicated by how available the sacraments and other Church services are available to them.

What sort of identification do I have with the poor who live in my vicinity? How do I serve those less fortunate than I am? By the way, poverty is no excuse to serving others. There is always something I can do to help someone.

Lord Jesus, you ate with the sinners and the outcasts of your society. You identified with our poverty of spirit in sharing our humanity. Help me not to neglect my duty to continue your mission to the poor.