1 Cor. 3:1-9, Ps. 33:12-15,20-21, Luke 4:38-44

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?” (1 Corinthians 3:3)

Once upon a time, a preacher told the story of a man who was given the privilege of going for an excursion to hell and to heaven. When the man got to hell, he noticed the citizens were fed with the same food with which those in heaven were fed. Everyone sat in a circle, the food was placed in the middle and there was just one long spoon. He then said the only difference was that those in heaven cared for each other so much that each one would take the spoon and feed the person seated in the opposite direction and then pass the spoon to the next person until it came to his turn to be fed. Whereas in hell, everyone was struggling to feed himself and at the end of the day, the food gets thrown away and nobody gets to eat anything.

Today, St. Paul describes jealousy and strife as symptoms of persons who lack spiritual maturity; persons who are unspiritual and ordinary men; persons who are still of the flesh. Let us search our hearts. Are there people I am quarreling with right now? Why? How can I make use of this situation to allow my spirit to blossom? For the Corinthians, their problem was that of taking sides between Paul and Apollos; similar to what happens when we begin to form camps around our spiritual leaders. Paul was unhappy with them because they failed to see that both Paul himself and Apollos were nothing but mere instruments while God himself was the real Chief Shepherd; the one who makes the growth happen.

Having dealt with the demon-possessed man in the synagogue, Jesus went to the home of Peter where He cured his mother-in-law of her fever. He also cured all those in the neighborhood who were sick of all kinds of diseases and demonic possession. The people brought their sick ones to Jesus because they believed in his power. How often do I go to Jesus in faith for healing? Do I believe that Jesus who is present in the Blessed Sacrament under the appearance of Bread and Wine can totally cure me of all sicknesses, bad habits, and demonic possession?

There is something that Jesus did after the great session of healing and casting out demons that we must learn. When you are successful in fighting satan and destroying the forces of darkness, do not become puffed up with pride. Prayer is one great cure for the vice of pride. When we don’t pray, we forget it is not by our power and that is when we begin to fall. We can never be too tired to pray. From synagogue to the house, then to healing crusade yet Jesus still had to create time for personal prayer. What does this teach me? What excuse do I have for skipping prayer?

Again, like Jesus, we must always bear in mind that prayer is a matter of being one-on-one with God. Jesus prayed in the synagogue often with many others but apart from these community prayers, Jesus maintained a personal prayer schedule. Prayer was Jesus’ favorite recreation. What is my preferred recreational activity?

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, give me the grace to grow deeper in the spirit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of week 22 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Cor. 3:1-9, Ps. 33:12-15,20-21, Luke 4:38-44).

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu