Wellspring of the Gospel


Year C: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Second Reading: based on St Paul's first letter to the Corinthians Ch. 12: 4-11

Reading the letters that St Paul wrote to the Corinthians, we get the impression of a very diverse, charismatic community - with all the tensions that can create!

The gifts of which St Paul speaks are often called “charismatic” - or charism. This helps to focus them as spiritual gifts designed specifically for the upbuilding of the Church. The problems arise when people set about competing about those gifts as they would with, say, athletic or musical gifts: who is the best? It is not, of course, possible - but human nature being what it is, the Corinthians were determined to try!

Many believed that the charisms were given to the early Church but had, over the years faded and become less significant. There were probably many in the Church who were quite relieved!
However, following the Second Vatican Council, a new interest in these charismatic gifts and many Catholics and others began to find themselves able to pray in tongues and rediscovered the power to heal - to prophesy and so on. Some succumbed to the Corinthians problem - seeing those who had such gifts as somehow superior to those who had not - such is often the way with enthusiasm and novelty.

As time has passed, the charismatic gifts have become increasingly seen for what they are: gifts of the Spirit for the good of all. It is also recognised that the charisms needed in our day are different from those of the early Church. Our prophets still speak against poverty and injustice - but on a global scale. Those with powerful prayer are creating new ways for people to worship God. Those with the gift to heal may lay hands - but may also heal through listening. Many in our day use their gifts in the “outside” world developing the mission of the Church - but all are gifted by the same Spirit who gifted the Corinthians.

What does it mean for me?

Waterlily What is your experience - or what have you heard about the Charismatic movement? What do you think it offers the Church today?

What gifts has the Spirit given to the church through you? (Don't offend the Giver by being unduly modest!)

         Text © 2006 Wellspring

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