Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A
Reflecting on Philippians 4:12-14,19-20
When our niece Chelsea was eight she made all kinds of beautiful things in Sunday School, but my favorite was a refrigerator magnet on which she had painted, in her darling child’s hand, today’s famous words from St. Paul: I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4: 12-14, 19-20).
Twelve years have come and gone since we lovingly attached that magnet to our refrigerator, and it blessed us over and over as we faced two cancers, several hospitalizations, the loss of jobs that we loved, and the challenges that our families have overcome.
Chelsea has grown into a brilliant biology student, and will no doubt be a fine veterinarian one day. But the faith that filled her child’s heart as she painted those words has never left her, nor has it left us. We know that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us.
My friend Joe had a frightening bicycle accident last July as he was riding his bike to see the fireworks. He was hit by a drunk driver, flew over the hood of the car, and broke his hip and wrist. Were you terrified? I asked. Was the pain horrible? No, he said. I kept reminding myself that I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.
My friend Joni has suffered more than any person I’ve known. Her rheumatoid arthritis has destroyed most of the joints in her body. She fell last summer and lay on the cold kitchen floor for several hours waiting for her son, praying over and over I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.
She can. And so can you.
What scripture text do you hold close in times of suffering?
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