The Gospel reading for today is borrowed from the Greek Orthodox:
I am not anyone’s slave. But I have become a slave to everyone, so that I can win as many people as possible.
When I am with the Jews, I live like a Jew to win Jews. They are ruled by the Law of Moses, and I am not. But I live by the Law to win them.
And when I am with people who are not ruled by the Law, I forget about the Law to win them. Of course, I never really forget about the law of God. In fact, I am ruled by the law of Christ.
When I am with people whose faith is weak, I live as they do to win them. I do everything I can to win everyone I possibly can.
I do all this for the good news, because I want to share in its blessings.
You know that many runners enter a race, and only one of them wins the prize. So run to win!
Athletes work hard to win a crown that cannot last, but we do it for a crown that will last forever.
I don’t run without a goal. And I don’t box by beating my fists in the air.
I keep my body under control and make it my slave, so I won’t lose out after telling the good news to others. 1 Corinthians 9:19-27
The Apostle Paul makes extensive use of metaphor in this letter to the Corinthians as an aid to illustrate his thoughts. First he makes it apparent that although a freeborn citizen of the Roman Empire and not a slave, he has become as a slave or servant to everyone in an effort to proselytize the Gospel of Christ. He points out that although he follows the rules for life as laid down by Christ, he observes the customs of Jew and Gentile alike in an effort to gain their acceptance so that once again he may serve as an example to them and proselytize the Gospel. Then using the example of someone competing in a foot race—as was a popular pastime for the Corinthians and something they could relate too–he points out that he does all these things so that he can share in the blessings of the Gospel.
Once again read the passage, pray that God will help you receive its teachings, and then contemplate on the scripture. Do you become as a slave to others helping to see the beauty of Christ’s message? Do you keep your spiritual body fit, just as a runner keeps his or her physical body fir so that they can compete and win the great race?
Then, say the following prayer or one of your own
A Prayer for Understanding: Psalm 119:33-35 Good News Translation
Teach me, Lord, the meaning of your laws,and I will obey them at all times. Explain your law to me, and I will obey it; I will keep it with all my heart. Keep me obedient to your commandments, because in them I find happiness.
Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the suffering; honor everyone; love and serve God; rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Name of the Three: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. AMEN.