So it’s easy to resonate with today’s reading from Paul as he speaks of carrying the treasure of God’s message in earthen vessels, “…afflicted in every way, but not crushed, full of doubts, but never despairing…struck down, but never destroyed….
How do I/we meet the challenges of our own limitations, whether in our physical bodies, and /or in the struggles and restrictions of our life situations? Paul reminds us that it is actually through our human frailties that God’s presence and potential can be recognized. When I’m at the ‘top of my game’, feeling great and full of energy, I can easily become convinced of my own power and gifts, and perhaps forget to step back to recognize that it is the gifts of God’s spirit within me, through me and, at times, in spite of myself that allows others to truly know God’s presence in our world.
However, I must first recognize and open myself to God’s spirit and presence within me, in order to let God’s life-giving energy flow. Perhaps, this is what today’s Gospel passage suggests.
James and John’s mother seeks a place of honor in the Kingdom for her sons from Jesus. Jesus questions whether or not the sons can truly accept what such an honor entails, but also reminds all that it is God who knows how we shall enter the Kingdom. However, Jesus is very clear: God’s invitation through Jesus is for each of us to serve one another. Our gifts, talents and powers are not for our own glory, but for others, for the community. Anyone desiring greatness in God’s sight must serve others.
How do I approach God with my needs, desires, wants, and fears? My mother recently told me she prays that when ‘the time comes’ for her and my dad, she wants to be the first to die. However, she always adds, ‘But, if he needs me to help him in his sickness, then I’ll be there for him, and then I’ll go.” (She says that she hasn’t ‘heard back from God, yet’.)
Somehow, I think Mom has today’s message summed up perfectly!
I pray that I can also learn to be ‘ok’ with my human limitations, but also know that the talents, gifts and presence that are God’s presence in me will be life giving to all if I continue to remember to live for and with others.
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