Holy Fools in Corinth

Corinth always gets the spotlight this time of year in homilies and op-ed pieces about the significance of Christian Holy Week, especially that three-day period known as the “Triduum,” which begins on Maundy Thursday (celebrating Jesus’ last supper), proceeds to Good Friday (the crucifixion), and culminates in Easter Sunday (the resurrection).

Corinth is front and center in this annual cycle largely because of the disbelief and difficulties of the first Christ followers living in the city in the mid-first century, whom the apostle Paul took time to address in a fulsome letter now known as 1 Corinthians. In Chapter 1, Paul seeks to correct the perspective of some in his community who viewed power, status, wealth, and education as the most important values in shaping and structuring their relationships: Paul highlights, rather, how Christ’s death by crucifixion — the “foolishness” of the cross — turned the Roman world, in its orientation to power and dominance, upside down. In Chapter 11, the apostle deals with division and disorder in community meals by reminding them of Jesus’ words on the night of his betrayal: “the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread….” And in the final chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul addresses disbelief of some in the Corinthian community about the Resurrection of Christ.

The letter itself, then, frames the content celebrated in the Triduum, and Christians today hear plenty of reflections on the Corinthian situation between Maundy Thursday and Resurrection Sunday.

This year western and eastern churches celebrated holy week in quick succession, and western Easter coincided with April Fool’s Day for the first time in 70 years. Many of the Easter homilies and op-eds I read concerned the foolishness of the cross. Among the better ones I read:

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Categories: Periods, Roman, Religion, 1 Corinthians, Religion, St. Paul

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