It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows— was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.
But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.”
So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Weakness doesn’t rank very high on the world’s scale of values. Just look at the recent games of the NHL and NBA championships. The sports pages are filled with commentary on the mistakes of individual players and the weaknesses of the losing teams. Or take time to watch the 20 second spots pushing the latest diabetes tonic or wrinkle cosmetic. So what do we make of Paul’s invitation to be content with weakness, mistreatment, and distress for the sake of Christ. Can we believe deep down that “when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong”?
Jesus’ words to his disciples build on the challenges of the first reading. What does my experience tell me when I try to serve two masters—to follow some worldly-wise fitness program or real estate scheme as I also respond to Jesus’ invitation that I store up heavenly treasure? As we sort out these competing values, Jesus offers the helpful images of light and sight. Since the eye is the body’s “lamp,” the eye of faith will always help us find the word and work of Jesus in very practical ways…at home, at work, with co-workers and loved ones. “If your eyes are good, your body will be filled with light.” Now there’s a challenge for the week to come!
—The Jesuit prayer team
Lord, we trust in your mercy. You invite us to come back to you no matter our weakness. We will honor you; show our gratitude for you by moving toward your light though we realize our inadequacies. Here we are, Lord. Your grace is sufficient for us.
—The Jesuit prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!