1 Corinthians 10:14-22
Today’s Gospel is taken from the last two sections of Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. We have the next installment of "how to" live life in-Christ with the analogy of trees and fruit. Good fruit, bad fruit, and those unable to produce other than what they were made to produce; you cannot gather grapes from brambles. This is in reference to an Old Testament notion addressing false prophets who could not produce good fruit (Jeremiah 23:9ff). For Luke, this was no less true in the early Christian community; and true for us today.
The parable of the two houses demonstrates the difference. A true prophet was one who does three things in sequence: comes to God, listens to his word, and acts on it. Only then can we produce good from our store of goodness. Unless we dig deeply our foundation in-God -intentionally, and with care-we will remain weak in our faith, we will not produce good fruit nor be properly equipped when challenges come our way.
Paul is teaching on the same principle. He is revisiting the question of eating meat sacrificed to idols; there are two opinions on this practice. Those who believe Jesus Christ, and see no issue with eating meat sacrificed to a non-god; and those who are scandalized by this action because of what it says-actions complicit with worshipping idols. Paul asks sensible people to reflect-does this action build up the body of Christ or tear it down? We who share the body and blood of Christ are one in him and each other. As I partake of the one loaf, I am called to be mindful of my actions and how that affects the community of which I am one part.
Jean Bowler is a retreatant at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center in Sierra Madre, and a member of the Office of Mission Effectiveness Board of Holy Cross Province.