2 Corinthians 11:18, 21-30
So many others have been boasting of their worldly achievements, that I will boast myself. But if anyone wants some brazen speaking - I am still talking as a fool - then I can be brazen as any of them, and about the same things. Hebrews, are they? So am I. Israelites? So am I. Descendants of Abraham? So am I. The servants of Christ? I must be mad to say this, but so am I, and more than they: more, because I have worked harder, I have been sent to prison more often, and whipped so many times more, often almost to death. Five times I had the thirty-nine lashes from the Jews; three times I have been beaten by sticks; once I was stoned; three times I have been shipwrecked and once adrift in the open sea for a night and a day. Constantly travelling, I have been in danger from my own people and in danger from pagans; in danger in the towns, in danger in the open country, danger at sea and danger from so-called brothers. I have worked and laboured, often without sleep; I have been hungry and thirsty and often starving; I have been in the cold without clothes. And, to leave out much more, there is my daily preoccupation my anxiety for all the churches. When any man has had scruples, I have had scruples with him; when any man is made to fall, I am tortured.
If I am to boast, then let me boast of my own feebleness.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and woodworms destroy them and thieves can break in and steal. But store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where neither moth or woodworms destroy them and thieves cannot break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
“The lamp of the body is the eye. It follows that if your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light. But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be all darkness. If then, the light inside you is darkness, what darkness that will be!”
Why boast of our weakness as Paul says? When other people are boasting about their achievements, why do we boast of our weakness? Simple. Because when we boast about our weakness, and the fact that we are still coping with them, we are in fact saying, as the response for the psalm today says: The Lord rescues the just in all their distress.
Yes, when we boast about our weaknesses, we are giving glory to God, for God is the one who gives us the grace to get through our daily weaknesses.
Many of us are ashamed to talk about our weaknesses. We are afraid that other people will look at us differently when we share our weaknesses with them. But from my own experience, and I say this because I can only speak for myself, when I do sincerely share my weaknesses with others, they look at me differently indeed, but not in a bad way. In fact, I have received worse responses when I boast about my achievements than when I boast about my weakness. Why? Because when I boast about my achievements, my focus is myself, and I am not that interesting a person. But when I boast about my weaknesses, my focus is God who gives me grace to overcome my weaknesses, one day at a time. And we all know that God is so much more interesting a person than I am.
Jesus, in today’s gospel reading also talks about the eye. When the eye is diseased, then everything we see will appear wrong. This might not make much sense. But using a real life example, I recently asked some friends the likelihood of Catholics not being virgins when they are married, and some of the responses were in the line of “Oh, most definitely. Everyone’s into pre-marital sex now.” And other responses were in the line of “There are still a good number of Catholics who will be virgins when they are married.”
There is a speaker I like very much which says that when our hearts are tainted by a particular sin, we think that everyone around us are like us. That is to say, if there is something wrong with us, there will be something wrong with the way we look at others, and we think that everyone is as bad as us, when in truth, it is not that everyone is bad, but there is something wrong with the way we perceive others.
If there is something wrong with the way others appear to us, that is, if we think that there is something wrong with everyone, chances are that what is really wrong is the way we are looking at them.
Heavenly Father, give us new eyes to look at others as you created them to be. Help us to recognize that we are blind, and we need your healing to become the person that you created us to be. Amen.
Give Thanks to the Lord for: Realizing that we are blind.
You Should Also Check Out This Post:
- Sunday, July 1 - Are you free to say ‘No’?
- Saturday, June 30 - Hospitality
- Friday, June 29 - Keeping the faith
- Wednesday, June 27 - The golden rule of truth
- Question: What’s the connection between pre-marital sex and adultery?