A Thorn in the Flesh

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13th Sunday Ordinary Time

In the second reading today Paul speaks of a “thorn in the flesh” that has been given to him, some malady or mental anguish that seems to distress him greatly.  He further testifies that even after praying to God three times for it to be removed from him the answer that God gave him was “My grace is sufficient for you.”  There has been much speculation about what this “thorn” really was, some think that it was a physical ailment or handicap, others think that it was temptations of some sort and then there were those who that think that it was some person who harassed Paul and tried to cause trouble in the Church at Corinth.  Whatever the issue that was causing Paul to be troubled, it is interesting that God would not relieve him of it even though he prayed, as Christ did in the garden, three times to be delivered of it.  The answer that Paul received, that the grace that God gives to him should be enough to get him through should give us hope as well.  The hope that we gain from the situation that we see Paul in comes directly from the Sacraments, the wellspring from which the graces of the Church flow so abundantly.  In any situation that we may find ourselves, whatever “thorn in the flesh” that we encounter can be endured with the graces that we receive from the Eucharist, Reconciliation and prayer.  God always provides His faithful with the means and the faculties to grow in His love even in our worst of times.  So let us take the example of Paul and carry out our God given mission to share our faith, through action and word, to all of our brothers and sisters, even, and especially, when we are under duress.  Amen.

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Bill

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