The Occasional Slam-Dunkby George Miller on 06/30/12
Every now and then, a reading we're assigned can feel as if it's aimed straight at our forehead. As I was preparing to read Philippians 4:12-14 earlier this year, I felt as if I was in a one-person classroom with St. Paul as my teacher.
In this reading, St. Paul says he learned "the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need." The secret lying within his belief in saying, "I can do all things in him who strengthens me."
Through much of my life I was never content with my financial condition because I relied solely on my emotions and feelings about it. What I didn't rely on in those days was the power of Christ to pull me through and keep me emotionally stable through all the ups and downs of my financial state. Whether I was miserable in a state of poverty, or proud and puffy in a state of abundance, it was because I was into myself too much and not enough "into him."
As I prepared this reading, I became so identified and consumed with it that I felt an urgency to convey to my fellow parishioners that it's only when we let the strength of Jesus's spirit eclipse the weakness of our worldly emotions that we can be at peace through all the ups and downs of our financial state.
Whatever piece of Scripture we read, there will always be some way in which we can apply it to our lives. But sometimes we'll get hit more profoundly as I did in this reading from Philippians. I also believe that as lectors, God will see that we're assigned certain readings at times when we'll personally feel their biggest impact.
Whatever your background is, I hope that some of your upcoming readings will hit you like this one did me. You'll be amazed at how much more powerful your proclamation will be when you find yourself in the center of the reading and can convey that "been there done that" feeling to your listeners.