THE TREASURE OF THE GOSPEL
IN EARTHEN VESSELS
IN EARTHEN VESSELS
The powerful love of God is working, not through glamorous people or superheroes, but through ordinary people, even amidst weaknesses.
St. Paul lived a very difficult and challenging life. After his conversion he was called by God to preach the Gospel, but he was met with much opposition, as did Jesus Himself. And as Jesus was opposed by the Pharisees, so Paul was opposed by those who preached a gospel other than his own and disclaimed him as a fake. It was a bitter pill for Paul, but he continued in his zeal, passion for God, and his work, going from place to place on long, arduous missionary journeys to proclaim the truth. Eventually, he was arrested and suffered a martyr's death.
What kept Paul going? He did indeed act out of pure love for Jesus and His people, but he also believed that Jesus held out a promise to him that made everything worthwhile. He states in our reading today, "We believe and so we speak, knowing that He Who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up along with Jesus and place both us and you in His presence" (2 Cor 4:14). Paul's faith was so strong that he really believed that God the Father loves us as He loved His own Son, and that as the Father raised His Son from death to life, so will He do for all the faithful followers of Jesus.
St. Paul's Second Letter to the Corinthians is a reminder for us, preachers and hearers alike, that the powerful love of God is working, not through glamorous people or superheroes, but through ordinary people, even amidst weaknesses. We are reminded of our powerlessness without God's grace as Paul reiterates: "But we hold this treasure in earth and vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us" (2 Cor 4:7).
Jesus wants us to know that anything is worth sacrificing to preserve the treasure of God's love, which will raise us from the dead one day. The laws of marriage are difficult. Jesus knows that. The laws of purity of heart are difficult, too. Jesus knows that also. But He asks us to think of the higher values in our lives, the things that bring us closer to God. To be like Paul and many others, our motive must be love, and our strong incentive should rest in the promise of our resurrection because of our faith in God.