The first reading from St Paul’s letter to the Corinthians begins with these words: we hold this treasure (the glory of God) in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us. (1Cor 4, 7)
Do you remember where you heard something similar before?
Right, in the first steps of the 12 Step program…
1. The first step is to admit that our lives are unmanageable… that we can do nothing by ourselves… that the power to change does not come from us.
2. The second step is to believe that only a greater power than ourselves can restore us.
3. And the third step is to turn our lives over to God as we understand Him
Why? Because as St Paul says: HE HAS THE SURPASSING POWER. He is the only one that can free us from our addictions and make us whole.
I think I told you before that the people in Matt Talbot who come here for their retreat always pray for the canonization of Matt Talbot, the Dublin alcoholic, who conquered his addiction and went on to become a real saint. But people in Matt Talbot can never make any headway with his cause because they say that Congregation of Saints in Rome seems to only accept physical miracles… and all they have to offer as miracles is their own sobriety.
And I really think that their sobriety is not so much a proof that Matt Talbot is a saint, and I believe he is, but it is a proof that God exists and that he is alive and well and (not taking nourishment) but rather giving nourishment. God’s power is working miracles all around us and these walking miracles are enough proof for me that He who made the universe is slowly but surely bringing it to fulfillment.
I would like to paraphrase the next few verses of the first reading where Paul emphasizes what he is talking about.
“We are afflicted in every way, but by the power of God, we are not held back.
We are perplexed, but by God’s power, we are not driven to despair.
We are persecuted, but by the power of God, we are not abandoned.
We are struck down, but by God’s power, we are not destroyed.
We always carry about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus (the power of God) may be manifested in us.
We sacrifice ourselves for Jesus so as to give testimony of his life in us.
Paul begins today’s reading by talking about the “power of God” and after a few sentences, he is changes and is now talking about the “life of Jesus”. For Paul they are like two sides of the same coin. And so we pray: MAY THE POWER OF GOD AND THE LIFE OF JESUS LIVE IN US ALWAYS AND GIVE US THE COURAGE TO OVERCOME ALL OUR WEAKNESSES AND SINS. AMEN!
“We hold this treasure (the glory of God) in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” (1Cor 4, 7)
Note: Perhaps due to a typo, actual posting date, or our error, the apparent correct biblical reference is 2 Corinthians 4:7 for June 12, 2009 rather than June 19, 2009 if the original title link is clicked.