Thursday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time


Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David:
such is my Gospel, for which I am suffering,
even to the point of chains, like a criminal.
But the word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen,
so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus,
together with eternal glory.


Biblical scholars in the Roman Catholic and Mainline Protestant traditions generally agree that the two Letters to Saint Timothy were written in honor of Saint Paul, but not by the great apostle. The style and selection of words show obvious differences. Forensic scientists today, studying the writings of suspected criminals on Facebook, sometimes bring that kind of evidence to court to convict felons. Their writings betray their age, ethnicity and locality.
That being said, I still take delight in "Saint Paul's" facility in hardship; he can turn a phrase like few others. First he complains that he is held in chains like a criminal; then he declares the Word of God cannot be chained! Damned right!

Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen....
When life give you lemons, make lemonade.

Or, to put it in the words of the Wise Man Qoheleth:
On a good day enjoy good things, and on an evil day consider:
Both the one and the other God has made,
so that no one may find the least fault with him.

Saint Francis, who survived imprisonment as a soldier, many infirmities, abandonment by his family, the mockery of former friends and the suspicion of powerful enemies always insisted "God is good, all good, supreme good!"
God's goodness -- which is necessarily effusive and generous -- is the heart of Franciscan spirituality. There is no shadow in the sunshine of God's grace.
You can take that to the bank!
Our spiritual practice is to maintain that optimism and confidence in every circumstance. God is still in charge! Regardless of who is president, governor or mayor; regardless of whose nation is invaded or whose ox is gored; regardless of my chronic or fatal illness -- I find not the least fault with God.
We may be swept off our feet by storm waves of disappointment, riptides of pain and tidal waves of grief, but we come out standing when we walk with God.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.