Much of 2 Corinthians is devoted to St. Paul's defense of his apostleship. Traveling evangelists demeaned Paul's apostleship to build up their own ministries. This situation can still exist in churches today. Paul's accusers were evangelists who accepted money for their services, a practice which Paul himself recommended at least once (1 Tm 5:17). Paul had a calling from God to preach "the gospel free of charge" (1 Cor 9:18) while working to support himself. As a result, Paul's accusers saw themselves as qualified "professionals" superior to the "amateur" Paul and his team. These quasi-professionals did all they could to undermine Paul's ministry, calling him an impostor (2 Cor 6:8), unskilled (2 Cor 11:6), and unimpressive (2 Cor 10:10), among other charges.
Experienced, trained church personnel might be similarly tempted to look down upon parish volunteers such as catechists, musicians, and others who sincerely, humbly, and prayerfully try to serve the Lord. A group of "ragtag" volunteers such as Paul's team can make an entire church staff appear on paper to be disorganized, unprofessional, and inferior.
Church professionals have trained hard and long to devote themselves to God's service. Thank God for them! Nevertheless, St. Paul would warn: "As your fellow workers we beg you not to receive the grace of God in vain" (2 Cor 6:1). Church professionals were the group Jesus most severely condemned. Let us all humble ourselves so we do not squelch a future St. Paul.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from June 1, 2005 through July 31, 2005.
†Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 20, 2004.