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Homily by Fr. Paul Plante

14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year B

July 3, 1988

Scriptural Reference: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

     In today’s reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, we are allowed into a very sensitive and private area of St. Paul’s life. It is never easy to face the deep hurts in our lives, especially the hurts linked to our sins, our weaknesses – the areas of our lives over which we feel powerless. We might think that a powerful leader like St. Paul might be the first to want to keep all of this hidden. Don’t we all fear that if certain people knew certain things about us that they would not love or respect us anymore?

     As parents or professionals or people in some kind of position of authority, we have all feared that the discovery by others of some sin or weakness or failure from the past might undermine our authority and so we all go on in life guarding our secrets.

     On the other hand, most of us are able to deal very well with the unveiled problems of others. Many famous people have publicly shared their need for help to conquer addiction for example and we have been touched by their courage and admired them all the more! Most likely because in some way or other we identify with them. We know what it is like. Their humanity is like our humanity and we feel as though we are part of both their weakness and hurt as well as their victory!

     St. Paul and we, as Christians have to go one step further – to be more daring – and to admit that in and through our hurts and weaknesses, God’s power can shine forth! As we admit our sins and weaknesses, we proclaim that God’ power is stronger and in the midst and through weakness, God still wonders through us!

     There even comes a time in life when we can say that some of the most powerful experiences in our lives came out of the greatest hurts. It may be some of our worst experiences that allow us today to be kind, humble, understanding, gentle, non-judgmental, etc. …

     Bad things happen to all of us in life. True Christian maturity is perhaps the moment we realize that beyond and through all of that, God’s goodness and power can perform great marvels in and through us. May we rejoice in that kind of freedom!

     To repeat the words of St. Paul: “I willingly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong”.

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