Sunday, June 25, 2006

Clement to the Corinthians Part II

Continued from Part 1 This is a commentary on Clement's First Epistle to the Corinthians.

Chapter 2

Clement says:
You stretched forth your hands to God Almighty, beseeching Him to be merciful to you, if you had been guilty of any involuntary transgression.

He describes how they are coming together in worship. This section is similar to the Kyrie which we practice now. This takes place at the beginning of Mass asking for forgiveness in preparation for the Eucharist which will forgive our venial sins. Notice how he says "any involuntary transgression". It is interesting to note that only venial sins (which the Eucharist forgives) are involuntary. Later he says:

Every kind of faction and schism was abominable in your sight.

He commends them for being obedient. Notice he didn't say "every kind of disagreement" since of course there are always disagreements. He is praising them for recognizing that the answer to disagreement is not schism and for fulfilling Christ's desire for the church found in John 17:20-23:

My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Also throughout the 1st and 2nd chapters, we really see a sense of community already developed in the Early Church.

Chapter 3

Clement writes:

Every kind of honour and happiness was bestowed upon you, and then was fulfilled that which is written, "My beloved ate and drink, and was enlarged and became fat, and kicked."

This prophecy can be found in Deuteronomy 32:15. This chapter is an early turning point in Clement's epistle. Up until now he has mostly been praising them. Someone in the group mentioned that this is the imagery of a child growing in it's mothers womb and then departing and forgetting where it came from. The Corinthians grew up amoung the first of the gentiles to be converted and now Clement is accusing them of quickly losing their way.

The last line reads:

(everyone) walks after his own wicked lusts, resuming the practice of an unrighteous and ungodly envy, by which death itself entered into the world.

Here he points back to the garden of Eden and reminds them that it was by this same envy that they are practicing now which first caused death to enter the world.

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