Lent 5, Monday, Year B

Inspired by 2 Corinthians 3:4-11

“Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (NRSV)

Ministers of the gospel, whether formally ordained or just someone proclaiming his or her own faith, are imperfect people. Every single one of us can justifiably be accused of not living up to the high calling to which we have been called, of not completely practicing in our own lives the virtues of selfless love, humility, patience, etc. that we consistently preach as being integral to the Christian life.

But if we are truly proclaiming the gospel, then our own failings and shortcomings demonstrate the truth of what we proclaim, rather than diminish it. The gospel message is not a list of rules that must be perfectly obeyed in order to have life in Christ; the gospel message is a promise of life in Christ because God chooses to give us that life. We who proclaim that gospel are not chosen because we’re better at obeying than anyone else, but because God chose us to proclaim it for his own reasons and purposes. We all are both ministers and recipients of the new covenant, based solely on the grace of God in Christ and sustained by his life-giving Spirit.

Let us pray. Merciful God, you alone are perfect. Work through your people’s shortcomings to demonstrate the depth of your love, that all may recognize and experience the truth that your grace is not earned, but given freely. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.