Today’s Thoughts: I have always like the image that St. Paul uses in the first reading today (2Corinthians 4:7-15), “earthen vessels.” The St. Louis Jesuit song by the same name introduced me to the image many, many years ago, but it has been my ministry and the living of life that has made the image “earthen vessels” so important and lasting.
I remember during the Holy Year in honor of St. Paul I was reading an article by a scripture scholar who said the Paul was not very imaginative with his examples and images. Back then and now I would disagree with that scholar. When you look over Paul’s letters and consider the images he used in order to make his point often they are images that come out of everyday life. They are images that every person listening would be able to relate to. Paul spoke to the common person and in doing so tried to make his ideas, his words understandable through the images of everyday life.
Everyone would have known what an earthen vessel was. They probably saw them and used them daily. A simple earthen container weathered by life with chips, cracks and flaws. Fragile pieces of pottery formed out of the clay of the earth by skilled and loving hands. Yet, Paul takes these simple objects of everyday life and turns them into wonderful images of our relationship with God. We are the earthen vessels, formed by the Great Potter’s hand out of the clay of the earth. We have our faults, failings, our chips and cracks but within us is a great treasure, the presence of God.
What a hopeful and wonderful way to think of ourselves. Yes, we are fragile, yes we have our faults and failing, yes we are chipped and flawed but because of God’s presence, God’s grace, God’s love we are never alone. As Paul puts it, “We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” We carry within the dying of Jesus and the life of Jesus. We carry within us the profound love of God.
May we carry within us, may we live, this special gift today in these earthen vessels to the glory of God.
Have a great Friday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...