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Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Reflecting on 2 Cor. 12: 7-10

Okay, St. Paul, I admit it. I’m curious. What exactly WAS your “thorn in the flesh”? I mean, you brought it up. It can now be admitted as evidence. What so tormented you that you begged the Lord three times to take it from you?

Some contemporary cultural cues set in. Hmm. Did you have an eating addiction? Could you not leave the hummus and pita alone? It seems unlikely, since you voluntarily traveled thousands of miles away from the cities that were a secure source of food in order to bring Jesus to the most remote parts of the Roman Empire. I need to know where the refrigerator is at all times, but you willingly put long distances between yourself and the comforts of food for the entire second half of your life.

Or maybe you were lonely, and were tempted to leave the mission fields behind in order to have a wife and family. That’s a significant “thorn.” You worked with married couples throughout the empire, and must have envied the consolation they provided for each other. And you were always meeting and working with women who have no husbands! Lydia, for example, was a successful businesswoman and your first convert in Europe. At her insistence you stayed at her house after you baptized her. Was it love for her about which you begged to be free?

Or did you struggle with alcoholism? Were there three episodes during your missionary life when you over-indulged, and then begged to never touch another drop? If so, you are in the company of millions and millions of people who have “taken the pledge” too.

I find it immensely helpful just knowing that you struggled with something. Thanks for sharing.

What successes have you had against your own “thorn in the flesh”?

What would YOU like to say about this question, or today’s readings, or any of the columns from the past year? The sacred conversations are setting a Pentecost fire! Register here today and join the conversation.
I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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