As is often the case, I find that of the readings for this week, the most eloquent, insightful and fulfilling comes from Paul’s letter — in this case, 2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1. It has Paul’s signature way of laying out theology, using cause-and-effect logic but often with a slightly unexpected twist: “Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” (Grace comes from God; ergo we thank God.) It also has poetic sentences: “For what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

It’s a consistent theme with St. Paul, this cycle of grace, thanksgiving, and a promise of almost unfathomable joy in God’s own good time.

The passage also contains another of Paul’s common themes: “Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.” God’s blessings to us are rarely material; instead, they are blessings for our inner nature — our spiritual selves. Again, it is what cannot be seen that is eternal.

It is our job to make sure that our inner spiritual selves are ready and welcoming of that eternity the Lord promises us, if we have faith in His grace. It’s easier said than done, of course — but Paul reassures us that it can indeed be done. “So we do not lose heart,” Paul writes in the shortest sentence of this passage. Paul’s writings alone help us not to lose heart, but to trust in God’s unfathomable love.

Earlier Sunday reflections:

Here, and

here, and

here, and

here, and

here, and

here, and

here, and

here, and

here, here, here, here, and here.

A note on these reflections: They are intended as just that: personal reflections of an educated layman, nothing more. One of my two majors at Georgetown University, nearly three decades ago, was theology. I have always had an interest in learning about and thinking about faith. These little offerings are just the result of some of that thinking. I hope you enjoy them.  — Quin

 

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