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Father Muench Says...

Important words of wisdom from St. Paul

Feb. 8, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

For the last three weeks, while here in Florida, I have been attending Sunday Mass just like you all, sitting with the congregation.

Going to Mass has been good for me.  I continue to learn what you experience when you attend Mass.  It helps me to realize how I can help you become more involved when I celebrate Mass.

Today, I would like to share with you my thoughts about a Scripture.  One Sunday the second reading at Mass, from St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, caught by attention.  I hope you remember it.  I read it over several times after Mass and found it has an important message for us all.

St. Paul writes this: “Not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.”  St. Paul wants these people to realize who they are – just ordinary people.  Yet, Paul will go on to encourage them and support them to realize that, despite being ordinary, they can and will accomplish even the extraordinary, through a strong faith in God.  (By the way, someone once taught me that a saint is someone who does ordinary things in an extraordinary way.)

Paul goes on to help them and us realize that our God is a God of surprises.  God often chooses the most unlikely to accomplish great things, even miraculous, for another, for the Church.  Paul writes this: “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, God chose the lonely and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something, so that no human being might boast before God.”  “Christ Jesus, became for us wisdom from God.”

Paul’s message is for all of you.  You may be the very person that the Lords need to make a difference in this life, actually every day. Too many say to me that they are not smart enough or that they are too foolish or that they are too weak or that they really count for nothing.  St. Paul speaks to us today - just as he wrote to the Corinthians so many years ago – the same message.  With the help of Our Lord, Jesus, you will recognize the many opportunities – maybe better to say the challenges – each and every day that come from the Lord, something to do for God, something special to accomplish at that very moment. 

I believe very firmly that each and every day, the Lord brings us these opportunities to do, to help, to bring someone closer to God, even though we might feel inadequate.

Speaking personally, I am well aware of the many times I felt anxious, even inadequate before preaching a homily or some other responsibility, like talking with a needy person or family. St Paul’s message certainly hits home with me.  Paul reminds me that Jesus’ help and inspiration will come through for me.  I have experienced this so often, truly every day. I may be struggling for the right words and then they come truly from the Lord; Jesus breaks through for me.

Let me tell you I know what Paul means when he says don’t boast to me; Paul reminds me that all the credit goes to the Lord. 

My words seem inadequate, even foolish but trusting in the Lord, the message becomes the right message at the right time.  Each time I write to you I stop often and offer a prayer of gratitude to my Lord for the gift of the proper words. 

I am so grateful to my God who has given me the right words over and over again.  Thank you, Jesus.

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