June 29, 2008 Peter and Paul, Apostles (Year A)

Scripture: 2 Timothy 4:6-18
2 Corinth. 12:7-12

From yesterday (June 28) until June 29, 2009 we celebrate the Year of St. Paul. 。。。。

。。For St.Paul the word 'Power' or 'Strength' had a very special meaning almost the opposite to the usual meaning. One example is in today's reading (2 Tim 4:17) "The Lord stood by me and gave me power." And in 2 Corinthians 12:9 Jesus says to Paul: "My power is at its best in your weakness", and Paul sums it up for himself (and us) in verse 10:"For it is when I am weak that I am strong."

Here we are touching on the first step in walking with Jesus. We must admit that we are not self-sufficient, we are not a wholly independent unit, we are not strong enough on our own power alone to live a peaceful, contended life. We are human, frail, dependent beings. 。。We are 'weak' (in the broad Biblical sense). In other words we depend on God for strength. We should acknowledge this dependence (it is such a healthy dependence) on God.

In today's reading (2 Tim.4:6-18) Paul is in prison, about to die. He uses imagery from the Olympic Games of the time (Olympus is in Greece). He reflects on his life and says: "I fought in a good wrestling match, I finished running the Marathon course and now from Jesus, instead of a perishable crown of laurels, I will receive a crown of glory". Would you like to be able to say that when you are dying? I certainly would!

So let us, like Paul, acknowledge our human frailty, and our in-built human weakness, and ask for the help of Jesus who gives us strength, power, support and courage.

All of us can say with St. Paul: The Lord stands beside me and gives me strength. Slowly, quietly taste those words. They can put encouragement into our whole day-indeed our whole life.