'My grace is sufficient for you'
Reflections on the readings for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 4, 2021): EZ 2:2-5; PS 123:1-2,3-4; 2 COR 12:7-10; MK 6:1-6
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul tells his readers about the great suffering he is enduring because of a thorn in the flesh.
We do not know whether he is referring to a physical problem, a temptation, or some other personal hardship. It could even be a difficulty caused by someone interfering with his missionary activities. But the severity of the situation is shown by Paul’s statement that he has asked Christ three times to remove this misery. “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.… For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). Paul came to terms with his thorn. However, he does not stop at simply accepting things the way they are. He realizes that our Lord is giving him a significant opportunity to let the strength and authority of God be shown in him. By giving himself over to God’s will, he honors and grows closer to Him.
St. Paul continues to serve God and share the Good News with countless people through his preaching and writing because he has said “Yes” God’s plans instead of his own. He embraces this hard experience and by turning himself over to whatever is required of him to serve God and build His Kingdom. Now both Paul and those around him can see that everything he does is possible only through God. The same is true for all of us. Our Lord asks us to do nothing on our own. He is always with us. It is up to us to let Him have His way with our lives. It is up to us to cooperate and not interfere with His plans for us – or for others. If we sincerely do all things for Christ, then we also will be strong in our weakness.
Suggested missionary action: Let us thank our loving Lord for His grace. Let us ask Him to help us cooperate with this gift in order that we can live each day in devout service to Him and for the sake of His people, no matter how difficult circumstances may sometimes become.