13: This number represents how many Pauline Epistles there are in the New Testament. The Pauline Epistles are the letters written by Paul the Apostle to the early Christian communities in Rome, Colossae, Galatia, etc., to answer the many questions of the time about the challenges the Churches had to face. The Epistle to the Corinthians was written for that same reason: let us discover the context behind the letters of Paul to the Corinthians, and his beautiful writings about love, inspired by the Holy Spirit, which can be found in the first letter to the Corinthians.
The first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians was written after he received very concerning news about the situation in the city. There, the Christian community was plagued by debauchery, division, fights, pride…
Paul wrote them this letter to bring them back to the path of Christ. He also instructed them to love one another, which is the only way to truly manifest God’s spiritual gifts.
In the second Epistle of Paul to the Church of Corinth, Paul expressed his relief after the Corinthians had adequately reacted to the first letter. He still warned them about false teachers who had infiltrated their community, trying to raise questions about the legitimacy of his apostolate. Like in each of his letters, Paul also reminds us all how the works of Christ cleared the path to a new life of freedom and justice for all believers.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”