“To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all to this very moment.” (1 Cor 4: 11-14).
St Paul is writing to the Corinthians and presents a contrast of his own suffering with their illusion of false glory. (Footnote 4, 9-13, Discourse from The Catholic Answer Bible, p. 1234). Yes, Paul is alluding to a reversal in the future as in the Beatitudes. “Blessed are the meek...”
A reflection of this passage in the present time: A true disciple of Christ does not necessarily live in an ivory tower. There are times, they have nothing in this world. They do not wear fancy clothes, they sometimes do not even own their homes. They work in the streets, sharing the gospel of Christ. They live with the needy, the poor in spirit, they work with drug addicts, with those who lost their way. They are at times persecuted because their ways are not of the world. They are not attracted with the false grandeur of worldly things! Such are the true disciples of Christ. They work to alleviate the suffering of the depressed. They work in prisons, risking their lives with the criminals so that they may find the way. They maybe bashed and the world look at them as scums of this earth. But their hearts are pure, they will see God. God has chosen not the most powerful but the weak so that people may better realise that the power of God is at work with them.
Paul’s life is a pattern of a disciple. It may not be amusing for the one who is obsessed with this world but the final recompense of doing the will of God is the prize!
Praise be to God forever!