When I first read the Scripture Readings that the Church gives us to reflect on today, my reaction was similar to the man who bet on the last place horse in every race. . . “Boy, you sure know how to pick ‘em!”
In short, the first reading reminds God’s people that they are a “rebellious house;” Paul tells the Corinthians to be glad in their weakness; and the Gospel lets us know that we ourselves can get in the way of God performing the miracles that our world so badly needs.
So, what is the Good News that will nourish us today?
I found hints of it in, of all places, a suggested penitential rite composed for this Sunday by Lucien Deiss, and it is that which I will share with you:
Lord Jesus, (you are the) strength that inhabits our weakness.
Lord Jesus, (you are the) joy that triumphs in our hardships.
Lord Jesus, (you are the) forgiveness that erases our faults.
And isn’t that exactly the good news that can bring a much needed perspective to our lives? While, at least for me, the readings seemed to emphasize humanity’s negative impact on the earthly reality, the penitential rite emphasizes the redemptive and purifying reality of Jesus’ mission.
In a world where the bond between parents and children is ignored and belittled, where long-held alliances are trivialized and demeaned, and where the possibility of annihilation is seen as a bargaining tool, I need to focus on that which is righteous and constant.
Our liturgy and tradition always remind us that God is Father, Son and Spirit. But today my soul and my heart need to cling to the fact that God is also our strength, our joy and our forgiveness, now and for all eternity.
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