Our first reading tells us to be patient. Then, as an example of how worth is brought out by patiently suffering, it says gold is refined over fire. Going along with that metaphor, it says true worth comes only from the “crucible of humiliation.”
In my seventy-seven years as a seminarian and priest, I have over and over heard how gold and our characters emerge from fire and hardships. But the truth is, I have never tried picturing the image of gold emerging in a crucible.
So, let’s make a late start on picturing how god is refined.
A crucible is a long-handled iron cup into which one might drop all the odds and ends of broken jewelry that has been rattling around in a dresser drawer. If you hold that crucible of broken jewelry long enough over a flame, its contents will begin separating. A dark rim of dross will thicken around the inner rim of the crucible, as the bright ball of gold bubbles up in the middle.
In the same way, hardship endured brings out the hidden gold of one’s soul.