In today’s 2nd reading, we hear Jesus tell St. Paul: My grace is sufficient for you, for power reaches perfection in weakness. St. Paul says… for when I am weak, then I am strong. This seems almost like a paradox. I have never seen or heard anyone in the corporate world, in politics or sports, profess the need to be weak, to become strong. We know what St. Paul is talking about…he means that when he is weak, it is then that he turns to Jesus Christ for help…that he opens himself to Jesus and allows the power of Jesus to strengthen him. St. Paul is saying that if we never experience weakness, perhaps we would never reach out to God for help.
Recall that people most receptive to Jesus when he walked this earth were those with some “weakness”, spiritual, emotional, physical, psychological, financial or some combination of these…
Perhaps the greatest concern is with spiritual weakness, which can have eternal consequences… maybe we have a difficult time concentrating on our prayers, too many distractions or maybe we can’t “find the time” to pray…or maybe we can’t win the battle with temptation…or we don’t see the urgency to frequently partake of the sacraments, especially Holy Communion and Confession.
God has a way of getting our attention…that is, to turn in His direction – through life’s experiences
– through His providence. We know that often “failure” in life is necessary for “success”. How many great inventions were the product of many previous failures? More important in the spiritual life, we know that perseverance is a key quality of prayer combined with childlike trust in our loving God.
The “weakness” of the people in today’s gospel was their preconceptions of Jesus, which prevented them from receiving the power (that St. Paul refers too) – no mighty deeds could be worked there. We should not form judgments about people, but also about God – how He should operate, what He should do and in doing so we do not acknowledge our weakness or our dependency on God.
Through Mary, God has chosen to give the graces that are sufficient for us. Let’s echo the words of St. Pope John Paul II to Mary: “I am all yours and all that is mine is yours.” May God bless us all always! Deacon Mike