Ordinary Time, 22nd Sunday (A) What do you think, what do you feel, when you hear the words, "God's will"? If you have a negative reaction, then you have something in common with the prophet Jeremiah. His life was so hard that he becomes a foreshadowing, a prophecy, of the Christ.
Last week, we learn that Jesus is The Christ. This week he reveals that he will be a sacrifice, not a successful and powerful earthly king. Jesus does not see God's will as an outside imposition on his freedom, but rather as a path that leads to true life.
We too are made to be a sacrifice. "Man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself." When I trust in God's plans, I lay down my life, and in the end get what I really wanted. Learning to discern God's will and trust in him is a process of intertwining that unfolds over time. Even St. Therese of Lisieux had to learn to trust God and fold her will into his:
“I realize as never before that the Lord is gentle and merciful; He did not send me this heavy cross until I could bear it. If He had sent it before, I am certain that it would have discouraged me . . . I desire nothing at all now except to love until I die of love. I am free, I am not afraid of anything, not even of what I used to dread most of all . . . a long illness which would make me a burden to the community. I am perfectly content to go on suffering in body and soul for years, if that would please God. I am not in the least afraid of living for a long time; I am ready to go on fighting.”
(3 Sep 2023)
Going Deeper: Prayerfully reflect on Paragraph 24 from Lumen Gentium:
24. God, Who has fatherly concern for everyone, has willed that all men should constitute one family and treat one another in a spirit of brotherhood. For having been created in the image of God, Who "from one man has created the whole human race and made them live all over the face of the earth" (Acts 17:26), all men are called to one and the same goal, namely God Himself.
For this reason, love for God and neighbor is the first and greatest commandment. Sacred Scripture, however, teaches us that the love of God cannot be separated from love of neighbor: "If there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.... Love therefore is the fulfillment of the Law" (Rom. 13:9-10; cf. 1 John 4:20). To men growing daily more dependent on one another, and to a world becoming more unified every day, this truth proves to be of paramount importance.
Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, "that all may be one. . . as we are one" (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.