“God chose the foolish to shame the wise…
and the weak of the world to shame the strong…”
Remember the image of one kid sharing a candy bar by breaking it in half, sizing up the two pieces, taking a bite from the longer one so as to render them mostly equal in length, and then passing it along to the other little kid? Maybe it was in a cartoon, maybe in a show like “The Little Rascals” (yep, I just dated myself!), or somewhere else. It’s cute. Part of its cuteness relates to the kindly way it takes the veil off from our eyes for a moment so we recognize ourselves. I trust I’m not over-reaching here.
What does this have to do with the readings today?
First of all, let me say that I have been attracted to this particular passage from First Corinthians for a long time. On the one hand, it makes an odd kind of sense. On the other, well, it seems to articulate the gospel direction of “the last shall be first and the first shall be last.” I find that I am attracted to that as well.
Here’s the deal, though: I get more than a little self-protective when this wisdom comes to play out in my own life in real time. Truth be told, I get downright resistant to this notion whenever it begins to take place in my own experience.
Different realities tug at my heart, back and forth, back and forth…
Self-protection versus magnanimity
Resistance versus acceptance
Defiance versus surrender
I find the underlying question to be: Am I willing to be vulnerable? Am I willing to enter into the essential poverty of my life and not balk (as much)?
Another way to put it is this: What does the fundamental insight / point of conversion / grace look like that would lead me to embrace this important part of my life?
Or, What does a life look like that is freed from self-preoccupation and self-preservation?
Someday I hope to give the other kid the bigger piece of the candy bar and rejoice in what I have and what is given.
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.