It never ceases to amaze me how the Holy Spirit teaches me through everyday experiences. Recently, He “spoke” to me through the words of Sacred Scripture. In the morning reading for Mass that day, I read, “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Cor 3:9)
I have been going to daily Mass as well as reading Scripture for my entire religious life. This is the first time I actually heard these words!
Before I began reflecting on the significance of these simple words, I was profoundly struck by the use of the semi-colon in the passage. The use of a semi-colon represents a decision by an author to continue a sentence, rather than end it. In order words, the use of the semi-colon in this passage clarifies or explains how we are God’s co-workers.
This realization caused an “a-ha moment” for me as I began to pray about the actual words of the sentence. Let me explain. A co-worker, according to Google, is “a person with whom one works, typically someone with a similar role or at a similar level within an organization.” I find it completely mind-boggling to describe mere humans as “co-workers” with God, the Creator of the entire universe. Yes, there IS a mystery to the fact that we are called by God Himself to assist Him in building the Kingdom here on earth. God calls each and every one of us to fulfill this mission as His co-workers! Even if we don’t respond to His will, His plans are always completed. The Kingdom is being built all around us!
Let me continue my musings.
“You are God’s field.” I remember many years ago helping a friend clear about three-quarters of an acre of land. We removed trees, stumps and rocks, preparing the ground to begin to plant a large garden. We used chainsaws, tractors and a mini earth-mover. The project took nearly two weeks. As I helped clear the ground of brambles, I thought to myself, “How did the colonists do this with a mere work horse, chains and a lot of sheer grit?”
So when I came across the passage from 1 Corinthians, I could not easily forget how difficult clearing that field was. But I am God’s field! His grace removes the rocks of vices and prepares my heart to be His instrument to bring forth life into this world. Being open to His grace creates a fertile place in my heart to bear His fruit.
Finally, we are God’s building! Our bodies are indeed temples of the Holy Spirit! It is to be respected and cherished. For some of us, our buildings have leaky roofs, broken windows and a front door that is off the hinges. But, the Holy Spirit, if we allow Him, renovates us so that we can truly become His temple! Amazing grace!
Where do we find the strength to live the virtues in order to be transformed into God’s co-workers, God’s field, God’s building? The Eucharist. This is the food that God Himself gives us for the strength to make the Corinthians passage true in our lives and in the lives of society. In The Mystery of the Eucharist in the Life of the Church penned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, we read, “We have been reborn in Baptism and nourished by the Eucharist so that we may live in communion with God and one another, not only today but also in the fullness of the Heavenly Kingdom …. [It] impels us to go forth and bear witness to Christ in the world!”
We are indeed God’s co-workers, His field and His building, and the Eucharist is the power behind it all!
By Sister Geralyn Schmidt, SCC, Special to The Witness