A Reflection on the Second Reading for January 29th, 2023: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
I’m disabled. That word can make some people uncomfortable, but I prefer it to euphemisms like handicapable or person with disability because my disabilities are a core part of who I am. From asthma to a clotting disorder to a hormone disorder to migraines, a big part of my day-to-day life involves dealing with my illnesses. Managing medications, monitoring symptoms, and keeping track of appointments is time-consuming, but the hardest part is learning to simply live with the restrictions my body poses.
The painful reality is that I can’t do everything I want to do, and I can’t be everything I want to be. I want to go to Mass every week and participate in all kinds of in-person events at my local parish, but my susceptibility to illness means I miss these far more often than I want to. I want to be reliable and always do what I say I’ll do when I say I’ll do it, but flare-ups can throw off my carefully made plans. This reflection was sent in a day late because my Friday was written off by a bad bout of nausea, causing a cascade of delays in my to-do list.
This is incredibly frustrating. It can feel sometimes like my disabilities are constantly getting in the way of the life I want to live. But when I bring these frustrations to prayer, what God often reminds me is that while my disabilities get in the way of my personal wants and desires, they don’t get in the way of His will for me.
The second reading for this Sunday is an excellent reminder of this. God can work with those who are weak – indeed, He prefers to! In His eyes, my broken body is not a problem but a blessing. My disabilities make His Gospel stronger, because each time I’m able to reflect God’s love to the people around me, they can be sure it’s God’s work and not my own strength coming through.
This is not just about physical weaknesses. Perhaps you worry that you’re not smart enough to fully understand the scriptures or don’t get all the theological nuance. Perhaps you feel lowly or despised, and it seems that no one truly sees you. God can work with your flaws and struggles. He delights in loving you as you are, messy parts and all.
Being disabled is a reminder I desperately need – that what I accomplish in life is not my own success but God’s work through me. It would be far easier for me to boast in myself if I was healthier. I truly believe God can work miracles and I have seen people healed, but I also believe that my disabilities can be a blessing in the hands of a loving God. Perhaps one day I’ll be holy enough not to need my own body slowing me down, but for now I am grateful for the unexpected ways my disabilities bring me closer to God.