I would like to write something to you this weekend, that is not about the gospel, but is about the second reading which is about the famous phase of Saint Paul: I can do everything…
This text, like every other part of the Scripture, needs to be understood in the context in which it was written.
There are some translations or interpretations that give the impression that Paul meant he could do anything and that nothing was beyond his powers. These are misleading to the point of being false. “All things”(panta) does literally mean “all things.” But as used here can only refer to “all these situations,” both good and bad, that have just been described, and to “all the prosperous and adverse circumstances” that one must encounter in the course of everyday living.
In Jesus, who strengthens us, we can do all things… that means because of His presence in our lives, because of His grace, we can overcome any kind of difficulties. B because of Him and with His help we learn to live in new and different ways according to the circumstances: in abundance or in need.
Because of Jesus, the need, difficulties, and challenges of lives do not disappear. They remain but He strengths us, sometimes gives us understanding, other times strength and other times endurance and perseverance.
The truth of the matter is that in himself, Paul did not perceive a strong, independent life. But united with Christ, the source of ultimate power, he was able to face life bravely. In 2 Cor 12:9-10 Paul speaks of his weaknesses as advantages because they made him all the more receptive of Christ’s strength, which is made perfect in weakness “Most gladly, then, will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses . . . and hardships for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then am I strong”.
Yes! There are things that are difficult, but we as Paul, should never allow our weaknesses or perceived weaknesses to be an excuse for inactivity or for failure to attempt the impossible task. We, like him, should work to be united with Jesus who strengthens us.