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Glancing Thoughts
14th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Year B
July 4, 2021
Eleonore Stump
Content with Insult, Persecution, and Weakness

In the Second Reading, Paul says that he is content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, and persecutions. Why would any rational person be content with these things? All of them look like the very things to avoid if you possibly can. 

Well, what would anyone be content with? How about beatitude? That would be worthy of contentment, wouldn’t it?

Beauty and love in life with the Lord are our final state. They are our home.

But in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ connects beatitude to persecution: Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’s sake (cf. Mt. 5:9). Actually, in the very next verse, Christ connects beatitude to being insulted, too. 

And now it is easy to see why anyone would be content with persecutions and insults, and so with hardships, too. Beatitude goes together with them.

Christianity turns the ordinary standards of the world up-side down.  When we follow Christ and suffer persecution, insults, and hardships with him, we are not among the world’s losers. We are the prize-winners. Beatitude is ours!

But that still leaves weakness. Paul says his own weakness comes from Satan. And, of course, one kind of weakness that comes from Satan is sin. Could anyone—should anyone—be content with his own sin?

Of course, a person shouldn’t accept his sins! Out with them! Out with them NOW!

Just expressing the thought this way explains Paul’s point, doesn’t it?

Hardship, insult, persecution, and most especially the wretched sin that besets us—these things are not our final state. Beauty and love in life with the Lord are our final state. They are our home.

But we do not get home by ourselves. Only God has the wisdom and the power to get us there. And so we have to wait for him, even for the removal of those sins that we would so dearly love to be rid of—and, of course, would also so dearly love to keep.

And that is why Paul can be content even with weakness. That is why we can be patient even with our own sins. God’s grace is sufficient for each one of us, not just where insults and hardships are concerned, but even when it comes to our sins. If only we do not stop waiting for him with trust, with peace and contentment in him, he will rid us of our sins in his own time. He will get us home.

Eleonore Stump

Eleonore Stump is Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University


Art by Martin Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go http://www.ltp.org