DON BOSCO CENTER OF STUDIES
INSTITUTE OF THEOLOGICAL FORMATION
Paranaque City, Philippines
Author: Maria Rowena M. Pasimio
Title: THE CROSS OF CHRIST: Paul’s Answer to Disunity Issues in Philippi and Corinth
Adviser: Sr. Bernardita D. Dianzon, FSP, SThD, PhD
Degree: Master in Theology
Specialization: Scripture Studies
Lumen Gentium sees the Church, in Christ, as a sacrament of unity with God and of humanity, yet both the history and present-day experiences of the Church display how this unity remains ever elusive. As one peruses the letters of the apostle Paul, it may be observed that Paul presents the cross of Christ in answer to the disunity issues plaguing his communities. This thesis examines how and why this is so by looking into the Pauline Churches at Philippi and Corinth. It is a modest attempt to draw out the meaning of the cross for Paul, and its necessary Christological and ecclesiological implications for the early Christian communities, especially in stressing the need for conformity to the cross in order to realize unity.
Through the hermeneutical lens of J. Christiaan Beker, who notes that Paul uses apocalyptic motifs as his worldview, the paper explores what is presented as coherent about the cross, despite the contingent context of the diverse communities. By having recourse to historico-critico, narrative, and rhetorical criticism, the researcher investigates the context of both the Philippian and Corinthian communities, offers a translation of the Greek text, and focuses on a study of Philippians 2:5–11 and 1 Corinthians 1:18–25 to find out what Paul asserts the cross of Christ offers towards unity.
Christ crucified comes out as the total self-revelation of God, of His nature as love, His desire for communion with mankind, and His divine plan for the salvation of humanity. Moreover, Christ, through the cross, reveals to mankind the authentic meaning of what it is to be human, and further declares its attainability through a conformity to His life, especially to the cross. It is in the daily exercise of this cruciformity that unity can take place in the Church.
The resulting spiritual and pastoral reflections from the studied passages offer some contribution to our present day ecclesial understanding of the following themes: a kenotic ecclesiology for ecumenism, a humble ecclesiology for inter-Church relations, an obedient ecclesiology for Church hierarchy and a power-in-weakness ecclesiology for the Church of the poor.