2 Corinthians 4:7-15
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.
The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons
and did him homage, wishing to ask him for something.
He said to her,
“What do you wish?”
She answered him,
“Command that these two sons of mine sit,
one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.”
Jesus said in reply,
“You do not know what you are asking.
Can you drink the chalice that I am going to drink?”
They said to him, “We can.”
“My chalice you will indeed drink,
but to sit at my right and at my left, this is not mine to give
but is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
When the ten heard this,
they became indignant at the two brothers.
But Jesus summoned them and said,
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them,
and the great ones make their authority over them felt.
But it shall not be so among you.
Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant;
whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.
Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served
but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Good News Reflection: Are you a cracked pot?
What is flawed in you? Think of yourself as a ceramic jar with cracks. God wants to do something awesome with your flaws! As we see in today’s first reading, we have within us a priceless gift to share. Although this treasure is stored in a cracked, earthen vessel, it’s priceless in the hands of God.
Our flaws are proof that God’s alive within us, because he nourishes the world through us with his water of life, despite our flaws. Let me share a story I found when I needed to learn this truth myself.
Once upon a time, there was a servant who fetched water for his master in two large pots, which he carried on the ends of a pole that lay across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it; the other was perfect. By the time the servant walked from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot had lost half of its water.
“I am ashamed,” said the cracked pot. “Why?” asked the water bearer. The pot answered, “I have been delivering only half my load. This crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way to your master’s house. Because of my flaws, you have to do more work.”
The man felt compassion for the pot and said, “Today as we return to the master’s house, I want you to look at the beautiful flowers along the path.” So the cracked pot took notice of the many flowers along the way, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because again it had leaked out half its load.
The water bearer said, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path. Every day, you’ve been watering them. These flowers are grown to decorate my master’s table. Without your cracks, he would not have this beauty in his house.”
In the reading from 2nd Corinthians, hear the comforting words:
I am afflicted, but (with God’s help) I am not crushed.
I am full of doubts, but (with God’s help) I do not despair.
I am persecuted, but (with God’s help) never abandoned.
I am struck down, but (with God’s help) never destroyed.
To this we could add: I am cracked, but (with God’s help) not useless.
Nothing goes to waste when we give our flaws to God. Not our imperfections, not our mistakes, not our weaknesses, nor our regrets. It all depends on how willing we are to let God transform our flaws into flowers — “so that the grace given in abundance may bring greater glory to God.”
If you don’t like yourself, ask God to show you the flowers you’ve helped him to grow!
Lord Jesus, I need to learn how to be humble as Your instrument among my brethren. Deliver me from my pride, and may my desire be always to bring another soul to You. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica