In our second reading today, Paul comments on the difficulties that the Greek population of the first century had in accepting and believing in a crucified Messiah. He explains that the Greeks were worshippers of the intellect and the ideal of wisdom, as described in the ancient writings of Plato and Aristotle. To them, belief that an executed criminal could be the son of God must have seemed utterly ludicrous.
Brothers and sisters:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom,
but we proclaim Christ crucified,
a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles,
but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike,
Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom,
and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
In our time, faith in Jesus is derided by many in our culture as just outdated superstition. We are told that Christians are little less than buffoons who fail to realize that the world and everything in it came into being on its own. God is replaced by science as the creator of the universe, the earth and human beings.
The irony of the modern world is that Paul’s words are specifically applicable to today. After all, for all intents and purposes, we Christians live among the “Greeks.”