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Sunday, 8 July 2018

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Fourteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Ezekiel 2:3-5
Responsorial Psalm 123:1-4 Response 2
Second Reading 2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Gospel Mark 6:1-6

What really struck me from this week's readings was a passage from the second reading. Paul states:
"Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness."
This is the passage where Paul is speaking about the thorn in his flesh. Theologians have put forth theories about what it was. Some theologians insist we cannot know for certain but that does not stop others from speculation. The most popular theories are an ailment of the eyes, or a physical disfigurement that lead to ridicule, epilepsy or even persistent fever. During the reformation there was a belief that it was a temptation to unbelief. 

But what strikes me most is Paul prayed about it three times, and then just accepted the outcome. I know that sometimes people say we should remain persistent in prayer. And I must admit I find it easier to pray for friends and family, than for myself. So I am left wondering how did Paul know that God had answered him 'No' three times. You see when I was in university and involved with Campus ministries we were taught there are three answers to prayer: Yes, No, and Not Right Now . Thinking on my own prayer life, and this passage, am I open to an answer of No, or do I just assume it is an answer of 'Not right now.' and keep praying. Am I open to the "No's"? I have felt the need to pray for healing for my eyes, I have been doing so for a several years now. And they have slowly gotten worse. Has god been saying 'No' and I am not listening or is he saying 'Not right now'. I have also been praying for a few years to learn to live more joy. I do not want to be the grumpy old man yelling at kids to get off his lawn. But my inner geezer is there. I stumbled across a book by Frank J. Sheed called Saints Are Not Sad I have not read it yet but it struck me. If my goal as a Christian, as a Catholic is to strive for sainthood I need to live more joy. It is not that I am sad, but I am not also joyful. I do not emote much and people often read my default as dour. But that is not how I wish to come across. Should I keep praying to live more joy? 

I do not really have answers to these questions. But I am thinking about them and have been all week. I truly wish I knew when to stop praying for some things because the answer has already been given. Or for greater discernment to know if the answer was


Yes - No - Not Right Now

And that is my prayer for me and for you my readers this week. That we will grow in discernment, and like Paul we can pray for God to work in our weakness. Blessings on you and your household.


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