Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Community Mass Mon, 23rd Week B

Community Mass Mon, 23rd Week B (1 Cor 5:1-8; Ps 5:5-7, 12 and Luke 6:6-11)
Fr. Michael Udoekpo

I so much admire the spirit, particularly the theme," Behold I make all things new" (Rev 21 :5) with which we began this new Academic year with. It does not only remind us of the joy of our new students,  the staff, and the joy of our new Rector, but it is a theme that will constantly remind each of us throughout this year and beyond of the need to study, pray and work together as a team with a renewed Christian Spirit.

It also fits into the theme of the bible lessons of today. In Luke's Gospel (6:6-11) we see Christ as the Lord of the Sabbath breaking the barriers of old boundaries and restrictions of Second Temple Judaism by reaching out to bring  his love, comfort and healing mercies to the man with a withered right hand on the Sabbath.

St. Paul on the other hand, addresses the old sexual and moral problems of the Corinthian Church Community- which by the way included arrogance, incestuous behavior, pretence, empty boastings and negligence of the truth. Paul gives us an illustration of this bad old ways of life with lessons of the old yeast. He invites us to clean the old ways (kathairo), and embrace the new, but unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I am sure you would recall in ancient times, when bread was about to be baked, a small piece of dough was pulled off and saved. This would be fermented in water and would later be kneaded into the next batch of fresh dough to make it rise, to influence the bread to rise. Clearly for Paul Leaven, as in the entire Scriptures represents influence. And you can imagine what a bad old behavior, status quo, influence like pride; arrogance and sexual immorality, back biting, and disunity  must have cause in the Corinthian Church Community!

When the Israelites were about to leave the old difficult live in Egypt and journey into that new life, in the Promised Land, there was no need or time for this old tradition of adding leaven, or old yeast to the bread. They were instructed to eat something new, the unleavened Bread.

Be it in the case of Christ’s healing on the Sabbath or Paul and the Corinthian yeast, Christians, are to be separated from the old life and old tactics that does not conform to the values of Christ and that does not meet the standard for which we were all gathered here.
As we advance in our studies and work here in the seminary what matters is not holding onto these old Corinthian yeasts or Sabbath restrictions and boundaries, but rather we want to concern ourselves with bringing the grace of God to concrete expressions as we reach out to one another, on the hall way, on the narthex, on the street, offices, in the class rooms and on every corners of our Seminary community, with sincerity and truth. Behold I make all things new!