Summary: The decided weakness of Paul, which he called his “thorn” was kept vague so everybody could relate to whatever type of aggravating affliction, discomfort, constant temptation, emotional or physical or bouts.
Elif Shafak wrote “be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It is a sign that you will soon be showered in roses”
1). The thorn “thrown”at Our Lord in our Gospel reading today was actually the rude comments by his hometown folks who dismissed him as being “all too ordinary” to warrant such a reputation and following. After all, they said, we know his brothers and sisters, who were his cousins and relatives; they sought to pigeonhole and control him. It’s a lesson for us to refrain from inappropriate considerations! (a lesson for us “not to go there.”)
e.g. Speaking of being controlling, a friend mentioned that he and his wife bought an adjustable bed with dual controls. The controls allowed them to elevate their heads, change the temperature, and adjust the firmness or softness of the mattress. For a while, they slept great and woke up rested and full of energy.
Time went by. One day, I asked him about his bed and he said, “It is terrible.” He was mad and irritable. He said he was not sleeping at all and was tired of the bed. I was surprised because I’ve heard that those beds are very nice. More time went by and one day he said, “I found out what was wrong with my bed. I had my wife’s control and she had mine!”
Our lives are unmanageable when we try to control each other.
How Jesus turned a thorn into a rose—
There is a saying: Change your reaction, change your life.
Depersonalize—don’t take it personally. What others say and do is often a projection of their issues and reality.
Jesus unhooked verbally and used a Proverbial saying which was widely-used in Greco-Roman literature at the time and he applied it to himself in the face of local hostility, saying that a prophet is dishonored only in his own hometown.
Proverbs 30:5 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
2). Paul’s experience with his thorn turning into rose, in our Second Reading, is that our weaknesses may become strengths if they remind us of our dependence on God.
The decided weakness of Paul, which he called his “thorn” was kept vague so everybody could relate to whatever type of aggravating affliction, discomfort, constant temptation, emotional or physical or bouts. In Galatians 4:13 he mentions a bodily aliment, which may have been his eyesight. But that is just speculation. The thorn is any constant irritant in our life that only God can turn into strength and glory for you, as you overcome it on a daily basis.
Our Second Reading says that three times Paul begged the Lord to remove the thorn in his flesh but the Lord answered him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul only had to pray “three” times! (How many times do I have to pray or complain—a lot more then three!). Jesus told Paul that the thorn would remain because the suffering was to serve a higher purpose in the plan of God (Rom. 8:28).
“My grace is sufficient for you,” says your God!
Sufficient grace means enough grace.
God supplies us with as much grace as we need for every situation we face.
Grace for facing illness or financial need; grace for our lack of wisdom or lack of social skills; grace for dealing with rebellious children or aging parents.
Whatever our need, we can rest in the knowledge that God’s grace is sufficient for everything we lack and everything lacking in us.
How sufficient, how abundant is it?! Imagine a little fish drinking away in the river. Then all of a sudden the fish stopped and said, “I mustn’t take too much, or there will be none left.” The river replied, “Drink on, little fish: my waters are sufficient for you.” Imagine standing beside one of Joseph’s great granaries in Egypt. A little mouse was feeding there. It stopped its meal and said, “I must not eat too much now, or there will not be enough for tomorrow.” But the storehouse answered, “Feed on, little mouse: my grain is sufficient for you.”
Finally, imagine yourself in a mountain range somewhere. You fill your lungs with the refreshing, invigorating air. But then you stop and say, “I must be careful not to use up too much oxygen, or there will be no supply for future needs.” The vast forests amusingly replies, “Breathe on, little man: my winds are sufficient for you.” The Lord says, “My grace is sufficient for you.” Do you understand that God’s grace is inexhaustible?
[thank you for some content that found in other sermons which I used for this sermon]