Grace to you!
Have you observed the hatching of a bird’s egg? You see how the shell begins to crack, dismember and give way for the beautiful chick to appear.
The chick picks her way and staggers, swinging like a jet without balance. In a few hours, she hops; and within days, she begins to run and playfully fly. The flying stage is her mature state, its fruition.
The above analogy comes to my mind as I reflect on 2 Cor 4: 7-12, a text that reminds us that we are a treasure in eastern vessels. As Christ is glory and believers are disciples of his glory, we realize that the “cracking experiences” must precede the fruition of this glory. It’s comparable to the cracking of the egg in order for the chick to live and mature. They are the sacrifices, setbacks, challenges and sufferings necessary for glory.
Saint Paul describes some nature of the cracking, the sacrifice that must take place: Afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down, "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus Christ...” (2 Cor 4:10).
Always carrying in the body the death of Jesus Christ doesn’t sound like a temporary sacrifice. It shows that sacrifices and suffering are integral aspects of the Christian life. But this is not the end of the story because it's through these that "the life of Jesus will be manifested in our bodies" (2 Cor 4:10).
Hence, are the demands of the gospel, such as fidelity in marriage, sanctity of the conjugal union—"love until death do us part," as the Lord pointed in Matthew 15: 27-32—too contra-cultural? Are there other aspects of the Christian life which bring us on our knees asking for grace of courage to endure?
Be encouraged because the blessings of the heavenly gift of love flow from the sacrifice of that love. True love entails sacrificing for one another. Perfect love on earth is perfect sacrifice. It’s only in heaven that perfect love exists without any more sacrifice. Until then, here on earth isn’t a smooth road.
Are you afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and maligned because of your faith? Know that God isn’t going to let you down. Instead, through those trials and sacrifices, many will see the glory revealed overtime. Your sacrifices have merits for you and for many. They’re a way to glory.
Praying that God’s grace will constantly abide with you during challenging and trying times. Amen.
[Friday Week 10 A: 2 Cor 4:4-15; Mtt 5:27-32]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.