Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

26. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many are powerful, not many noble:
27. but the foolish of the world God has chosen to confound the wise: and the weakness of the world God has chosen to confound the strong:
28. and the ignoble things of the world, and contemptible, God has chosen, and the things that are not, to destroy the things that are:
29. that no flesh may boast in His sight.
30. And of Him are you in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption:
31.  that as it is written: who glories, in the Lord let him glory.

22-31.  This is not what the world expected.  The Jews ask for miracles, the Greeks require a system of philosophy.  The Cross of Christ, which we preach, is to the Jews a scandal, because they do not understand humility; folly to the Gentiles, who are sensible of no greater evils than suffering and death.  But those whom the grace of God calls to faith, can perceive the power of God, greater than miracles, all the wisdom of God, far transcending the limited view of human philosophy, is centered in the Crucified.  The sun itself is darkness to the blind, says Theodoret; but it gives light to those who see.  This, which the Greeks call folly, has done what all their systems of philosophy could never do: it has conquered the minds of men.  That which seemed to them feeble and helpless, has subdued the empires of the world.  Look at those whom God has selected to be the bearers of this message of salvation to mankind.  How few of them are men whom the world regards as wise and eloquent; how few are men of position and influence; how few men of noble or princely birth!  he does not say absolutely none; there were, for instance, St Dionysius the Areopagite, Paulus the governor of Cyprus, Nicodemus, Saint Paul himself, and Apollo.

But these were exceptions.  For the most part, the early preachers of the Gospel of Christ, and their converts, were men whom the world, in its pride and ignorance, regarded as foolish, feeble, contemptible, and ignoble, as nothing.  Yet in the end they put the old systems of philosophy to shame, subdued empires and governments to the faith of Christ, brought to nothing all that the world, before their time, most admired, believed, reverenced, trusted in.  He, who made all things of nothing, has restored all things by those who were as nothing.  The fools have taught the wise men.  The feeble have conquered kings and emperors.  The humble and lowly have brought to the feet of Christ the excellence and grandeur of the world.  Nothing that is in this world can glory before God; its wisdom, its nobility, its power, are nothing in His sight.  We must also learn to despise these things if we would have the regard of God.  Christ has given us wisdom, deeper than the systems of philosophy can teach; justice, or remission of sin, more complete than either Judaic or pagan sacrifices could confer; sanctity, which philosophers talked of, but could never realize; redemption from the miseries of life, in hope complete, in great degree in present realization also, by virtue of that hope.  In this we may glory, but in nothing that is of this world.  Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise glory in his strength, and let not the rich glory in his riches.  But in this, let him glory, who glorieth, that he knows me, because I am the Lord, who shows mercy and judgment and justice in the earth; for these are the things that please me, saith the Lord” (Jer 9:23-24).

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One Response to Bernardin de Piconio’s Commentary on 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

  1. Pingback: Commentaries for the Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A | stjoeofoblog

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