Daily Reflection
July 25th, 2007

Robert P. Heaney

John A. Creighton University Professor
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There are probably a half dozen messages for us, embedded in this rich passage from 2 Corinthians. Instead of cups of silver or gold, we function as ordinary clay pots – the humble utensils of common folk – the disposables of their day. Paul says God uses bumblers in order to help us see that it is not the person preaching or healing, but God, who is producing the change that our actions elicit. We know that Paul, who was skilled in rhetoric, chose not to use his considerable oratorical and persuasive skills, precisely so as not to call attention to himself. It was the message of God’s love that was important. Flawed as we are, we must strive to be like a pane of glass in a window – showing without distortion what lies beyond, but otherwise invisible to the viewer.

Our own imperfections need not be obstacles to God’s acting through us, to our letting God use us. Sometimes I fear we hide behind our imperfections – use them as an excuse for inaction. We are not yet quite ready to do God’s work; we are not holy enough. Right. We never will be ready, in that sense. In the final chapter of St. John’s Gospel, Jesus thrice calls Peter’s attention to his failings and thrice charges him with care of the flock. Ready or not; get on with the job.

But what are we to do? Paul quotes scripture: “I believed and therefore I spoke”, and then applies the statement to himself and his companions: “We, too, believe, and therefore we, too, speak.” This treasure that we hold in clay pots is not mainly for us. We must share it. Because we believe.

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