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Fr. StrolloFr. Charlie Strollo reflected on Paul’s image of “earthen vessels” during the Eucharist with the three candidates who completed the year of their formation in the Internal Seminary.

Good Purposes Mass: July 25, 2015—2 Corinthians 4:7-15 and Matthew 20:20-28

There is a Japanese proverb that goes like this: “Fall down seven times and stand up eight”!!!  I have heard this same proverb stated this way: “Falling down is part of life, and getting back up is living”!!! Over the period of this internal seminary year, Luis, David, and Leo have encountered some real human situations in serving the poor that have triggered situations in their own lives. They reflected on these experiences and shared them with each other.  This process opened them up to personal resources that they never knew they had and resources that they never knew God had. They have fallen down seven times and stood up eight. What has defined them is how well they have risen with God’s help after falling in becoming more compassionate toward the poor. For David, Luis, and Leo, it is all faith!!

My sisters and brothers, this is what St. Paul is expressing in his letter to the Corinthians today. The amazing fact about the ministry of St. Paul is that his strength comes through his weakness. St. Paul uses the image of a treasure in a clay jar to express his understanding of his ministry. The treasure is the power of his ministry, and this clearly belongs to God.   St. Paul is simply a clay jar who deals with all the struggles of being a clay jar. St. Paul has been able to survive, not because of his own special power, but because he carries the death and life of Jesus with him. For St. Paul, power comes through weakness. What defines St. Paul is how well he has risen with God’s help after falling in becoming more compassionate toward people in need.  For St. Paul, it is all faith!!

My brothers and sisters, on this Day of Good Purposes for Leo, David, and Luis, God’s Word clearly reminds us all that it is our very weakness that allows God’s grace to shine through us in becoming more compassionate toward people in need.  Let me offer 2 simple reflections.

First, Luis, David, and Leo, in very real ways you commit yourselves today to a process of ongoing transformation as Vincentians. In other words, this process is in the spirit of Vincent de Paul who said to his fellow Vincentians that the poorest person he ever met was himself, and from that point on the poor were never a threat to him. Simply notice God’s track record with you in these months. Allow yourselves to be open to God’s mercy daily and to share God’s mercy with the poor compassionately daily. For you, it is all faith!!

Second, these men know that you, their family and friends and members of the Vincentian Family, love them and love God. Let your love continue to be creative and life-giving in your committed support for them in a faith-filled, loving, and compassionate way.  For us, it is all faith!!!

My sisters and brothers, may this Eucharist strengthen us all in this spirit of faith that Jesus died and rose – which is what we celebrate here. For “falling down is part of life, and getting back up is living”. For us all, it is all faith!!!