Jan. 22, 2017: 3rd Sunday Ordinary A
Click to hear Audio Homily
Do you ever have one of those days when you have planned everything out to the hour, and then either someone or something unexpected changes your schedule? How would you feel? Irritated, resentful, or let’s go with the flow? The Book of Proverbs gives us a nugget of wisdom regarding this: "The human heart plans the way, but the LORD directs the steps." (Proverbs 16:9) Prophet Isaiah also reveals that God’s ways is not our ways, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.” (Isaiah 55:8)
At any moment of the day, the Holy Spirit prompts us with a mission from the Heavenly Father. It may not be something that we scheduled or would prefer to do. A disciple of Jesus in a sense must be ready to surrender each and every moment, just as Blessed Mother did when she said, “Let it be done to me, according to your word.” All of us prize our freedom, the ability to choose what we want and when we want it to happen. Yet there is a greater way to experience freedom--freely choosing to do God’s will when He wills it.
"Why torment yourself? You must discern between God and the works of God. Everything you have done and desire to continue to do, pastoral visits, training seminarians, sisters and members of religious orders, building schools, evangelizing non-Christians. All of that is excellent work, the work of God but it is not God! If God wants you to give it all up and put the work into his hands, do it and trust him. God will do the work infinitely better than you; he will entrust the work to others who are more able than you. You have only to choose God and not the works of God!"
If we are to be ready to respond to the call from Jesus, as did Peter, Andrew, James, John, and Bishop Nguyen, we should be ready at every moment of the day. We may not be asked to leave behind our profession, livelihood, or all of our possessions. Rather, we may be asked to welcome the interruption in the plans of today as an opportunity to serve Jesus. Perhaps it can be a smile, a kind word, or a short prayer for a person who interrupted our plans. For even a serious change in our plans, such as an illness or the loss of a loved one, we have to be ready to entrust it in God’s hands and live day-to-day with courage that He is guiding every step. Trusting in God should not be an extraordinary response for us; trusting God should be an ordinary response as a Christian. Our Lord reminds us that perfect love casts out fear. The love and care that Our Lord has for us is as personal and compassionate as the phone call the young man received from Pope Francis. Let us go about this week recognizing interruptions as opportunities to love and serve Our Lord.