Reflecting on Second Corinthians for the Eleventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

From Second Corinthians by Thomas Stegman, SJ, commenting on Second Corinthains 5:10:

Finally, Paul offers a crucial reason why it is important to “walk by faith” and to seek constantly to “please” the Lord: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ. The word for “judgment seat” (bēma) refers to a raised platform on which a magistrate was seated to hear cases and pronounce judgment. In fact, Paul himself had appeared before such a judgment seat during his first stay in Corinth. He had been charged with contravening Roman law, a charge that the proconsul Gallio summarily dismissed (Acts 18:12–17). In the present passage, Paul speaks of the heavenly judgment seat, where the exalted Christ is seated in judgment. He reveals that judgment has universal and particular aspects. It is universal in the sense that everyone will be judged; it is particular in the sense that each individual will be judged according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil. Observe that, once more, Paul emphasizes the importance of embodied human existence. Bodily human existence is the arena of all moral activity, and God’s judgment of each person will be based on what he or she has done in this arena.

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