14th Sunday in Ordinary Time

by Fr. David Halm, C.S.C.  |  07/07/2024  |  Pastor's Letter

I got a fair amount of feedback from last week’s “From the Pastor” in which I proposed a comparison to the television character Ned Flanders. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - both the laughs and critique - I really am grateful that anyone reads this at all (besides dear Mom checking online from Ohio…)

In a way, we continue this reflection on what a strange bunch we Christians are, from the perspective of the worldly and unbelieving. St. Paul writes “Three times I begged the Lord about this [suffering], that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.2 Cor 12:8-9

In his previous letter to the Corinthians St. Paul wrote: “The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Cor 1:18

So, he is telling fellow disciples of Jesus that he received a revelation that “power is made perfect in weakness” and the cross, an instrument of torture and death, is actually the means by which God will protect and save you. SMH, as the young would write...

Naturally, people have been trying to figure out what all this could mean. Typically if we want to avoid suffering, get stronger or have control we need power. Yet Paul says that Jesus flips this: the weaker we are, the less power we have, the more we rely on Jesus Christ, and His power dwells in us, the stronger and better we become!

This is why he can write that he boasts about it. While everyone else is trying to “out-do” each other or drowning in the stress that comes from doing it on your own, the Christian relies totally on Jesus and His power and love. If He could endure the Cross and die for love of you and me (sinners and messy and needy and weak that we each and all are) Jesus can handle your problems. Give them to Him.

Step 3 of the famous 12 Steps is that we “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” Those countless men and women in recovery around the world and over the last 90 years testify that it works.

If we try to control our own lives, fix our own problems, and save ourselves… well, consider whether it’s been working. Turn it over to Jesus Christ and rely on Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

I know you’re thinking “easier said than done.” But the Good Lord can help you even with a desire to try. He’ll take care of the rest. God bless you all and have a great week!