Friday, February 22, 2008

You babies!

Have you called someone special to you with “BABE”?

Yes, “babe” is a nick-name for our loved ones. We are happy if someone special to us call us “babe,” “my baby.”

Paul calls the Corinthians (1Cor 4: 1-21) as “babies of Christ!” Not in a lovely meaning as we have here, but in a pejorative meaning. It means that the people of Corinth are just childish, immature people as opposed to wise and spiritually mature persons.

What makes Paul call them babies? Immaturity of the people of Corinth, which is expressed in jealousy, quarrelling, and factionism: I like Apollos, I like Paul. These kind of attitudes which make Paul call them babies, who only can drink milk, but cannot digest hard foods.

I think the problem of the people of Corinth is ours as well. We are jealous to the success of our brothers and then try to put him down not because he did wrong, but because he did something better than us. We don’t be happy with our brothers’ successes, but we are jealous of it. It’s like a kid who cries aloud because her buddy got a bigger candy than hers. We also like to quarrel and keep quarrelling. If we find problem, we tend to keep quarrelling rather than working hard, again and again to resolve the problem. It’s kind of childish attitude. We also tend to create fractions. Just look when you work in a parish, people act like the people of Corinth, saying, “Oh…I like and prefer Fr. John, since he is an mature man, and he is the pastor. I don’t like Fr. Ben, since he’s just a young, inexperienced boy, and he’s just ordained and just become the associate pastor. It’s like a child who’s looking protection under the arm of his mom or his dad, when his mom or dad is angry to him of his mistakes.

Paul criticizes the people of Corinth and also us, by encouraging us to see him and Apollos as models in spiritual life. He is against fractions between the people and also against jealousy and quarrelling. He claims that he and Apollos are just the servants of God. Nothing more, we are servants. And why we have such high “position” (if you call so), it is just because we are assigned by God. We don’t assign ourselves for this duty.

Paul also encourages a team work rather than destroying someone else’s work of success. He explains that he who plants, Apollos who waters, and that’s it. But we work together. But we also know that God who gives growth. Not us.

Paul shows to us the maturity of his life. He encourages us to do so as well. And he discourages us to live with immaturity. Let us follow his steps, and don’t let Paul, from heaven above call us: “You’re just babies!”