Wellspring of Scripture

 

Year B: 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 12: 7-10

In this last Reading from this letter from St Paul to the Corinthians, we have words which offer comfort and hope to those of us who struggle with our discipleship -and with things that seem to get in the way of our becoming whole people.

 

It can be hard to understand why God doesnít heal the weaknesses which prevent us from being good disciples. It may be a physical weakness - or emotional - an addiction - or simply a bad habit we cannot break. Like Paul, we may plead with God to take it away and become angry or upset that He does not seem to be listening.

 

At those times, the insight from this Reading can be a source of strength: by insisting that we work with our weakness, God is reminding us that he is our strength. A great apostle like Paul could easily have become convinced that his words were his own and congratulate himself on the number of converts he had made. He might pay lip-service to the fact that God might have been in it somewhere but, deep-down, he could have believed that it was all his own work.

 

We do not know what the thorn in the flesh was - but we can tell from Paulís tone that it caused him much distress. It cannot have been easy to hear the words from God - that His strength was made perfect in weakness - and to have reached the point of sharing that with others must have been the work of much time in prayer and, perhaps, discussion with other people of wisdom.

 

Eventually, he managed to reach a point of acceptance and the capacity to lean on Christ - indeed to take pride in his weaknesses because they made more clear the power of Christ in his life.

 

If a great saint admits to pleading with God three times and to the struggle to come to this acceptance, we can take solace in our own pleadings with God - but ask too for the grace of acceptance and the love and support that makes that possible.

 

What does it mean for me?

 

Waterlily

What is the thorn in your flesh?

How can you come to a point of acceptance - and, if you have, how can you use that to help others?

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