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IN OUR WEAKNESS WE CAN ALWAYS RELY ON GOD

Father Francis's picture
Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time

2 Cor. 11:18, 21-30 & Mt. 6:24-34

False prophets were leading the Corinthians astray. This meant that Saint Paul had to defend himself and try to win them back to the truth. They claimed to have the same authority and power that he had so to justify himself Paul had to reveal his credentials. He writes in the third person to diffuse his bragging but obviously experienced close encounters with God, remembering exactly when this mystical vision happened - 14 years ago - around the year 45 based on the composition of the letter.

This passage is literally filled with intriguing concepts of mysticism, grace, weakness, spiritual strength and the power of Christ. Throughout all this, so as not to get carried away, he was given “a thorn in the flesh” although what this was we do not know. Three times Paul pleaded to be released from it but God’s response was “My grace is enough for you: My power is at its best in weakness.” This affliction of Paul can teach us a powerful lesson. No matter what we have to suffer, we must remember God knows about it and, when we feel powerless, His help is always available to us.

How foolish we are to worry about the many things that worry us, especially when we consider the loving providence which our heavenly Father has even towards lower creatures than us. Ponder how God feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field. Let the reality of His fatherly care for these ephemeral creatures sink deeply into our soul. Then we will understand how much more He will care for us, the crowning work of His hand, His sons and daughters, for whom He is willing to send His only begotten Son to die on the Cross? Christ penetrates to the real cause of our worries and anxieties, our concern that often overwhelms us in life, because we have little faith and even less trust in the goodness of our heavenly Father. Let us thank Him for His patience and allow His fatherly goodness to penetrate to the depths of our spirit.

Our worries and concerns about the material needs of our daily life make us lose sight of the one thing that is truly necessary: striving for holiness, for the establishment of Christ’s kingdom in our own lives and the lives of those around us. If only we would allow Christ to set our hearts on fire with the consuming passion of zeal for souls, how our lives would change! We would become driven by the mission, constantly urged on by it - and all of our former worries and anxieties would fade into insignificance. Then we, too, could exclaim with Christ, “I have come to light a fire on the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!” (Lk 12:49)

One virtue that helps us trust God more and grow in apostolic zeal is simplicity of heart. When we grow in simplicity of heart, we will never demand of God that He explain our vocation or our sufferings. Thanks to simplicity of heart, we will always see God’s holy will in everything, even pain, becomes wells and rivers of peace and joy. Thanks to simplicity of heart, we will be able to understand people and their misery, and give them a helping hand. Thanks to simplicity of heart, we will never harbour hate, an evil wish or thought, or a grudge, in our heart. Everything brings us to God.

Lord Jesus, help us grow in simplicity of heart, to recognize everything in our lives as coming from Your loving hand, and in times of weakness help us to know that your grace is sufficient for us.

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