For many, many centuries, over a thousand years, this Sunday is Sexagesima Sunday — “Sex-” for six; “Six” Sundays; a symbolic “sixty” days to prepare ourselves for so great a Redemption that we celebrate on Easter.
We can do nothing to save ourselves, but our offense is so great that so much was needed to be done!
I am so small and weak and unable to do what needs to be done to save my own soul. I don’t even have it in me to live a beautiful life (like the ballerina!) and to do what I’m supposed to do in this life.
Apparently St. Paul felt that way too. In the Epistle for us today we heard about St. Paul’s account of all that he had been through while proclaiming the Good News to people – and though he gives the glory to God, he tells us that he still has an affliction, a weakness, an imperfect “thorn in the flesh” that leaves him unable to fully be in charge of his own life. It’s some lacking that gets in the way of being able to do everything he would otherwise do.
And then Paul tells us that God’s grace will cover any insufficiencies he has, and so he will be happy with his weakness, because then there will be “room” for the power of God to work in him. As they say, “Let go and let God….”
My weakness manifested itself today in an inability to pull myself into reality; and although I managed to get myself into a church, it was one that has abandoned the ordinary rhythm of the seasons and is off in another direction. This Sunday they weren’t having Sexagesima, but I still paid attention to their readings.
From the book of Isaiah, chapter 49, just when God’s people were feeling helpless and abandoned and too weak to help themselves, God tells them this: “Can a woman forget her infant so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? And if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee.”
Oh, yes. As St. Paul writes centuries later, God says “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Uncertain about the future? Vulnerable? Unable to make our world perfectly safe and good? That’s when we can humbly kneel and adore our God as we let Him step in and be our Father and our Mother. He is Sufficient.
In my weakness this morning, He led me to hear another set of readings. All I can say is: Deo gratias.