If we look at ourselves, we have to wonder if there isn't a design flaw. Yes, someone could say we were perfect until original sin. But then, didn't God know when he made the first man and woman that they were going to sin? Of course he did.
We live in bodies that are constantly changing. Our minds flit from one thing to the next. We know what we ought to do, but don't do it. Bad habits seem to stick immediately and the good ones take years to develop. Our emotions get the better of us. We are sensitive to cold and heat And there are plenty of other animals that are stronger and faster. And to top it all off, we like to beat ourselves up for all these things. Surely there must be a flaw in the design.
And yet, the first reading today reminds us of why there isn't.
We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.
It's all part of the plan, the plan to make us totally dependent on God. St. Paul reminds us that we are built to not be able to get though a single day without God's assistance.
In the Book of Genesis, God took the adamah (earth, dirt) and shaped it into something he called adam (a human being). We were made fragile from the get go.
I remember the uproar from some corners when Rome made it clear that we were not to use pottery for mass, no clay chalices, etc. The vessels for the body and blood of Christ must be the opposite of fragile, they must be unbreakable.
At mass we who are the earthen vessel, drink from the unbreakable the grace and power that comes from God. As much as we need air and food, we need God. We are not flawed human beings, we are dependent human beings. Our biggest mistake is thinking we should be something else or trying to be something else. The minute we disconnect from God, and try to run on our own, we are like an engine without oil. We will run for a little bit, and then...
The best thing we can do is own our earthenness, so that as St. Paul says,
the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.