Blessings and graces

July 4, 2021

Saint Paul had such acute spiritual self-awareness that is bound to amaze. No one had a better sense of his personal inadequacy than he did, and he was always able to state that in no uncertain terms. He would call himself the least of the apostles, indeed unworthy to be called an apostle. In the same passage he also talks about how he persecuted the church (1Cor.5:9). Today we hear him focus on the pain that he bore in his body which, according to him, was given to him in order to curb his pride. With stunning humility, he would welcome insults, persecutions and trials, provided they are a pathway to and are in the service of, a divine purpose. He knew that all that he was able to accomplish, in spite of his human limitations and weaknesses, are all thanks to the superabundant grace of God for, “My grace is sufficient for you”. In Saint Paul, we see an example of a man who had an awareness and took advantage of the grace made available to him by God. The prophet Ezekiel, in the first reading, decries the ingratitude of a people who failed to make use of similar opportunities granted to them. That situation is comparable to the gospel passage whereby Jesus’s kinsmen would refuse to see the Messiah in a man who they only believed was just one of them, a carpenter’s son. Every single day, God opens a floodgate of blessings and graces for us to capitalize on. It is either we are so self-conceited as Jesus’s kinsmen in today’s gospel the we fail to make use of those opportunities, or we, like Saint Paul, surrender to that grace, allowing it to shape us in His image and likeness. When the latter is the case, the works that we produce are full of kindness, compassion and love. We pray that God may grant us that kind of faith which causes our eyes to be fixed on Him as our unending source of grace, of hope, and of peace, Amen.

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