Scripture: II Corinthians 1:18-22. Psalm 119: 188.8.131.52.133.135. Matthew 5:13-16:
Paul’s dramatic call and conversion not only makes him the apostle to the nations, it also blesses him with the gift of inspired writings to the churches, and the gift of profound Christ-centered prayer. We have repeated and recalled his motivation and way of living expressed in Philippians1:21, “For me to live is Christ!”
One easy way to get to the heart of Paul’s deep prayer is to carefully read his first chapters where after the greeting and addressing the church, he then begins his prayer (the thanksgiving). This happens in almost all of his writings except in the curt beginning of Galatians where he expresses his concern about their deviating from the Gospel.
Jesus Christ so impressed St. Paul that he learns a positive way of talking, witnessing, writing, and preaching in bringing Jesus to all who are willing to listen. He tells us in today’s reading that Jesus is God’s supreme “YES” and that Jesus is never a “NO.” This is one of the finest lines within his epistles: “…the Son of God was not alternately “yes” and “no”; he was never anything but “YES”!” The thought is clearly expressed and emphasized by Paul’s adding the AMEN to this statement. The Amen is a Hebrew word that we use to strengthen our prayers just as the Jewish Jesus and Paul did. This makes the prayer an act of belief, a faithful and emphatic prayer, a doxology or praise of God. When used with God it means a God of faithfulness, a God of truth. It is understood as supportive of what we truly believe, what we affirm as the truth, so be it, or even “ I do believe.” We do well to learn how to make our lives positively oriented by joining in with the YES of Jesus and then by shouting out AMEN.
Copyright 2013 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.