In I Corinthians 9:16-27, St. Paul tells his listeners to run the race of faith with the intention of winning the imperishable crown of glory in Heaven. It’s important to remind ourselves that St. Paul was NOT a ‘people pleaser.’ His main goal was to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, because this is what Jesus asked of him. He preached the Good News in its fullness, NOT to please people with ‘itching ears’, but so that his listeners could respond in faith to the gospel by turning away from evil and giving their hearts to Christ!
St. Paul’s main goal was to ‘preserve the unity of faith’ and bring all souls to Christ! He was concerned that the Corinthians were getting bogged down with minor disputes, while losing sight of the ‘big picture.’
How does St. Paul’s concern apply to us today? This year I’ve spoken to many people, including priest friends of mine, about the current state of the world. Conversations often begin with issues of the day, such as the war in Ukraine, the impact of inflation in our lives in a pandemic world, and the seeming apathy amongst our secular and religious leaders on a host of issues… At the crux of these conversations, I’ve noticed two things in common: First, an overzealous-consumption of news feeds from the media, to the point where people are now addicted and obsessed with them. The second thing I’ve noticed are the effects of getting sucked into the media feeding frenzy…sleeplessness, hopelessness, depression, an aversion to prayer, or even to function in regular circumstances.
How much time do we spend watching the news or reading doom and gloom articles on the internet that we have no control over? How much time and energy do we spend in personal prayer and encouraging the fearful amongst us to overcome their anxieties and follow Christ?
May we NOT fall into the trap of the devil’s slight of hand tactics to bottle us up with the baseless fears and distractions thrown our way to overwhelm us. The Lord loves us…We’re precious to Him…and He wants us to live lives of genuine faith without obsessions and slavish fearfulness. May we re-direct our energies into doing all we can to ‘preserve the unity of the faith’ through prayer, good deeds, and encouraging those around us to give their hearts to Christ!