READINGS for 2008-10-17
AN EVEN BIGGER PICTURE
All things are done according to God’s plan. – Ephesians 1:11
“Time to go home.” God’ s voice whispered clearly to me. It was the Lenten recollection of the office I was assigned to in the province of Oriental Mindoro. I was at the end of my stint there as a Jesuit Volunteer and I wanted to stay on for another year. I felt I hadn’t done enough. I wanted to serve more. To touch more lives. To make a bigger impact. But His undeniable direction was to return to Manila.
A month after I went home, I was hired for the Jimmy Carter Work Project by Habitat for Humanity International — a project that brought together 14,000 volunteers from here and all over the world to build 250 houses in six different areas of the Philippines in one week. I was to recruit 5,000 local youth volunteers. The director said that he had been waiting for me to return from the province because he felt I was the right person for the job.
I wanted to make a difference in many lives, but little did I know that God had a plan to use me in a greater way than I imagined. That project inspired thousands of people locally and worldwide to share their time and resources with our needy brethren. He always has a bigger picture in mind. Thank God I obeyed! George Gabriel
Do I trust His leading?
Lord, help me to see that You always have a plan for me.
Do you believe God has a plan for your life? If you do not, then reread today’s First Reading. Paul clearly tells us that God has a plan for us all, and that He has commissioned the Holy Spirit to help us realize this plan. This will only be possible if we are willing to give the Holy Spirit enough freedom in our lives to do this. Is it not a little ironic that the greatest and best use of our freedom is an act of surrender to God’s will? Ah, the irony of true love strikes again!
11 Brothers and sisters: In Christ we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, 12 so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. 13 In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised holy Spirit, 14 which is the first installment of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s possession, to the praise of his glory.
P S A L M
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 12-13
R: Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
1 Exult, you just, in the LORD; praise from the upright is fitting. 2 Give thanks to the LORD on the harp; with the ten-stringed lyre chant his praises. (R) 4 For upright is the word of the LORD, and all his works are trustworthy. 5 He loves justice and right; of the kindness of the LORD the earth is full. (R) 12 Blessed the nation whose God is the LORD, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. 13 From heaven the LORD looks down; he sees all mankind. (R)
G O S P E L
Jesus’ use of yeast is an interesting choice because yeast has a remarkable effect upon the ingredients in a loaf of bread. Somehow, it works to cause the dough to rise and expand, so that the end result will be a soft loaf of bread, and not a hard baked rock! This is what faith and the power of the Holy Spirit seeks to do in our lives. We cannot actually see them at work, but the effects of their work are extraordinary! Sin can work towards the contrary – let us reject sin and welcome the work of the Holy Spirit with faith.
1 At that time: So many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot. He began to speak, first to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven — that is, the hypocrisy — of the Pharisees. 2 “There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known. 3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed on the housetops. 4 I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. 5 I shall show you
think : The greatest and best use of our freedom is an act of surrender to God’s will.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Sirach 35-38
GOD IS IN CONTROL
How can God be all-powerful and all-loving, and yet allow so much suffering in the world? Surely if He is a loving God, then He is obliged to do something to end the suffering of so many people? The actual answer to this seeming contradiction within the nature of God is that He has ended all suffering. It is just that people refuse to cooperate with His plan. And there is the ultimate reason why there is still suffering in the world: People choose to exercise their free will in ways that give rise to the suffering of others. Is the gift of free will evil then? Of course not! Without free will, there would be no meaning to life or love or anything that separates human beings from the rest of the animal world.
We cannot have it both ways. People cannot expect to do whatever they want whenever they want without having to endure the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, the choices we make also impinge upon the lives and freedom of others, and so we can cause suffering to others for which they are blameless. God cannot choose to stop this sort of suffering without removing our free will, and as I noted above, that would mean human life would be meaningless.
The answer to the problem of suffering rests not in the hands of God but in the hands of human beings — in the choices we make. If we choose not to sin, moral suffering will be eliminated from our lives. As to physical suffering, there is a good argument that the first cause of this was also sin (Genesis 3:14ff). The suffering caused by natural disasters and illness are problematic from the point of view of those asking whose fault they are. But if we were all living according to the plan of God for our lives, perhaps this type of suffering would also be eliminated. Whose fault is it that people choose to live under a volcano or in an earthquake or flood-prone area? Once again, such situations are the result of human choices.
I do not have an easy answer for the suffering caused by illness. Perhaps we just have to view it as part of life and an imperfect world. Fr. Steve Tynan
Do I willingly entrust my life to the will of God? If not, why do I find this so difficult?
Lord Jesus, help me to believe and act upon the truth that You always desire the best for me and that the best choice I can make in life is to submit my life to Your will.
St. Florentius, bishop, pray for us.
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