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Glancing Thoughts
15th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Year B
July 11, 2021
Eleonore Stump
The Check is in the Mail

In the Second Reading, Paul says that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing and chosen us to be holy and without blemish before him.

These are wonderful words, aren’t they? I’m not sure I know the names of every spiritual blessing in the heavens, but here are some of them: love, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering. Not only are we blessed with all of these, according to Paul, but there’s also being holy and without blemish!

We are what we are now, but we have won the lottery of life.

 And now could we have a reality check? Is there anyone who supposes he is without blemish? And what about holy? Even to ask the question is to risk laughter, isn’t it? And then there’s love, joy, peace, patience, and the rest.  What would you give for just an hour of these blessings in any day of your life?

So what does Paul mean by saying that God has blessed us with all these good things?

To see the answer, imagine that you are desperately poor, unable to pay the medical bills, worried about the mortgage, afraid the car will give out, anxious about the school costs for the children. And then you get a phone call: you have won the lottery. No, no, the caller says, it’s really true! You have won millions in the lottery. The state administrators of the lottery are now doing the paperwork, and by the end of next month the check will be in the mail.

Now what? Well, you still can’t pay the medical bills this month, and all the other bills are going to be a big problem, tooYou are still desperately poor—this month. But you will face your poverty very differently once you know you have won the lottery, won’t you? The problems are all still exactly the same, except that you know you have won the lottery. Your problems are not going to last. The check is in the mail.

This is what Paul is talking about. We are what we are now, but we have won the lottery of life. God’s grace works its way slowly in our lives, but his blessings are promised and sure. And so our struggle with our sins and failures is not desperate, but hope-filled.

Hope is itself one of God’s spiritual blessings to us.

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