Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Corinthians 1:1-7; Matthew 5:1-12)
Once an oriental man visiting churches in Italy was amazed to see so many images of someone hanging on a cross. He asked something like, “What evil deed could that guy have done so that they don’t want anyone to forget it?” Unlike this oriental we see the crucifix in a completely benign way. Just as Paul speaks of being encouraged by Christ's sufferings in the opening of the Second Letter to the Corinthians, so our meditation on the crucifix provides us consolation to face the hardships of life with equanimity and hope.
As the year of St. Paul comes to a close, let’s reflect briefly on his contribution to our lives. Of course, he was the great apostle journeying, tirelessly, bravely, and successfully to tell our ancestors about Christ. We may credit our being Christian today to his efforts. He also brilliantly laid the groundwork to our understanding about Christ, especially in relation to Judaism. Equally important, his letters convey sensibilities similar to our own which make credible our following Jesus in the midst of a society which often moves in a different direction. Paul gives us confidence that Jesus’ story is no myth but answers the questions of an acutely honest person who from an encounter with Christ was convinced that whatever sacrifices he had to make for him are well worth the trouble.