1 Cor 3:18 -21
People should think of us as Christ’s servants, stewards entrusted with the mysteries of God. In such a matter, what is expected of stewards is that each one should be found trustworthy. It is of no importance to me how you or any other human court may judge me: I will not even be the judge of my own self. It is true that my conscience does not reproach me, but that is not enough to justify me: it is the Lord who is my judge. For that reason, do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes; he will bring to light everything that is hidden in darkness and reveal the designs of all hearts. Then everyone will receive from God the appropriate commendation.
How much wisdom is contained in these brief words of the Apostle, which will have great effects on our inner being if we assimilate them deeply!
In the first place, he tells us that, as Christians, we are servants and stewards of the mysteries of God.
A servant sees to it that all honour is given to his Lord; and in no way does he want to withhold praise for himself. Acting in true humility, he always puts himself in the background and makes way for God to be glorified. This humility will lead him to be attentive, examining whether he really remains in the spirit of service or whether his own interests are intruding, as ‘coexistences’. In Paul we can note this attitude, for his constant concern is that the Lord be recognised, and not himself. “No servant is greater than his master” – Jesus teaches us (Jn 13:16).
The faithfulness of a steward consists in doing everything “in the sight of his master”, in a spirit of responsibility. The good that has been entrusted to him is immensely great; therefore, he must protect it and, at the same time, multiply it.
We guard the treasure entrusted to us when we vigilantly walk our path of sanctification and protect the sanctuary of our soul, as well as the body, which is “the temple of the Holy Spirit” (cf. 1 Cor 6:9). In fact, these are the first treasures that God entrusted to us in giving us life.
All the gifts received are to be used faithfully for the praise of God and the service of mankind. The proclamation of the Gospel will be the way to “multiply” this treasure received.
For us as Catholics, the words of today’s reading also mean keeping faithful to the Church’s teaching, receiving the sacraments properly and making use of the countless riches of our Catholic Church, so that generations to come may also receive from this abundance.
There is another statement from today’s reading which is worth considering and drawing the appropriate conclusions from it.
“The Lord is my judge”, says St. Paul. And the same applies to each one of us: it is He who will call us to account when His appointed time has come!
This is an extremely important truth, because it is not men who can pronounce the final judgement on us, but God alone. For we men are incapable of knowing the hearts of other people. It may be possible to acquire a certain knowledge about what is in the heart of another or in our own heart; but this knowledge will always be limited. Only God alone will discover the intentions of hearts! Therefore, although we can and must discern the acts in their objective content, we will never be able to determine the degree of guilt, or we will do so only very imperfectly.
These words bring us much consolation, especially when we grow in the certainty that the Judge to whom we will have to render an account is a just and merciful Father, who wants to forgive and strengthen us. Trust in Him, which, on the one hand, is the fruit of love and, at the same time, increases love, will help us to live in the spirit of service and in the responsibility of a steward with the gifts entrusted to Him. The certainty that God alone is our ultimate Judge can dissolve human respects in us, so that we become freer to fulfil our mission in this world.