1 Corinthians 4:9-13 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, as though sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to mortals. We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in ‘disrepute. To the present hour, we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all
things, to this very day.
2 Corinthians 5:1-7 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling if indeed, when we have taken it off we will not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan under our burden, because we wish not to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. So we are always confident; even though we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord for we walk by faith, not by sight.
There is scarcely any more humiliating way to become a “spectacle to the world” than to be stripped naked, exposed to everyone’s gaze. Jesus, at his most vulnerable moment, allowed himself to become the object of the world’s rejection. Paul knew the pain of physical vulnerability, but he intensely believed that whatever physical humiliation would come our way as proclaimers of the gospel, we remain destined for another world. Faith strengthens our ability to be humble in this world while it orients us to the next.
Meditations from our Preachers.
From Fr. Andrew Manning
For a Jew to be naked in public, for anyone to be naked in public is a great insult and brings about absolute shame.
Being stripped of your garments was to be stripped of your dignity, your humanity. I suppose it was a necessary step for the soldiers, to de humanise the victim. When we fail to see the dignity of another we are capable of terrible things.
Christ knows what it feels like to be robbed of His dignity. And in that state he loved back. When humanity was at its worst – Jesus responded in love, mercy and with forgiveness.
Lord, you allowed yourself to be utterly naked before the world’s eyes, entirely vulnerable and defenseless. You refused to clothe yourself in the glory that was rightfully yours. Give us the courage to be so bold and not to fear the vulnerability that comes our way. Amen