Fr. Stan's 2019 "State of the Parish" Address
Rev. Stanley M. Moczydlowski, M.B.A., M. Div. (Fr. Stan)
January 25/26, 2020
So what is Saint Paul driving at when he tells the people of Corinth to be united in the same mind and the same purpose? Aren’t we different? Isn’t it ok to have different attitudes and outlooks and opinions about things? Isn’t it ridiculous to believe we can all be the same and think the same and want the same? What is Saint Paul getting at?
I think the answer lies in his carefully chosen words, “same mind and same purpose.” Seemingly implicit in this phrase from Paul is the idea that the “mind” and “purpose” he is talking about lie outside ourselves. In other words, if we truly want to be united in faith, it is not okay for me just to listen to what my mind wants or simply follow my own purposes. If that were the case (and often it is), Christians would be as divided as everyone else - each of us going our own way and doing our own thing. And we suffer because of it, not unlike a married couple who find themselves no longer on the same page on so many important things. And the world suffers because of it too.
The “same mind and purpose” Saint Paul talks about is, of course, the mind and purpose of Jesus. One of the unique promises of Christianity is that our faith is not predicated or built on a philosophical system. It is founded on and rests on and is grounded in a person - the person of Jesus Christ - our loving God who has visited us and remains with us always. We, as Christians, don’t follow just a few “ideas” or “rules” or “practices.” Rather, we follow a person - a concrete person we can look to show us how to live, why to live, how to see and think about things, and how to act.
And so being a faithful disciple really has nothing to do with figuring out what I want out of life. It’s really more about what God wants out of my life and what He wants out of us as a faith community. These are things that last. These are God-things. These are the things that have the power to transform human hearts and transform the world. What are these things? Unconditional love. Radical Forgiveness. Unbounded generosity. True compassion and mercy and understanding. If we can’t agree on these simple things, are we really united in faith?