Whenever I go to Mass in one particular parish in my diocese, the pastor of this church always starts his homilies with
“Jesus Christ is our joy and our strength.”
I think that his opening statement summarizes today’s passages perfectly.
Our strength does not come from ourselves. As strong as we can be on our own, we are only human and our strength has limitations. Even though our nation prides itself on “do it yourself” and getting guidance from self-help books, it often gets overlooked that at some point we have to admit to ourselves that we are not strong enough on our own, and have to rely on a higher power to get out of our problems. This is where God enters in.
Philippians 4:13 says
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”
It basically summarizes how I’ve overcome the trials and tribulations that I’ve experienced. I know for a fact that I could not have gotten out of my constant anxiety on my own. I needed to reach out to my community and friends for support. I had to live a more active life. Most important of all, I prayed constantly.
A lot of people take Philippians 4:13 out of context and think that it means that Jesus can help us do or be anything we want. However, the preceding verses speak to the contrary. Jesus gives us strength to deal with whatever situations come our way, in good times and in bad.
When it comes to overcoming trauma, the strength doesn’t come overnight. It’s a long-term process. For some, it could last for a lifetime. But there will be times when God will let you see how far you have come from where you’ve been. That emotional growth is a blessing and a consolation. And no matter how long the process takes, God is always with you, giving you His strength.
There’s a scene from the series finale of one of my favorite TV shows where the main character, a woman who had the power to fight the creatures of darkness and the forces of evil, chose to share her power with every girl in the world as a way to defeat the final bad guy once and for all. She said “Every girl who could have the power will have the power. Can stand up, will stand up. Are you ready to be strong?” When the power she had went into every girl in the world, she still had her powers, but now she wasn’t alone in the battle against evil. And although the demons she fought weren’t real, I felt like I became a fighter in that moment.
In the same way, Christ does not lose anything when He shares His strength with us. In fact, at some point, our lives might be a lot like Galatians 2:20
“It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.”
There might be a point where we no longer recognize ourselves because Christ has transformed us so much that we see more of Him in ourselves than what we used to be.
So dearest sisters in Christ, are you ready to be strong with Christ?
Reflect on a time when Christ gave you strength to overcome something you could not have done on your own.
Do you think power and authority is better when shared with others? Why or why not?