Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 9, 2007
Scriptural Reference: Wisdom 9:13-18b; Luke 14:25-33
In today’s First Reading from the book of Wisdom, we are told that as human beings our deliberations are timid, our plans unsure.
In the Gospel message we are told to plan if you are building or going to war. Make sure you know what you are getting into, otherwise it will be disaster. They seem to be contradictory messages, yet both may set us on the right path. Chances are we may have been about a decision being the right thing to do – it failed. And perhaps other events in our lives that were so painful we never thought we would get through the crisis – something good emerged from the ashes. Isn’t is clear that in all our decisions, in all our plans, in all our dreams we do not have the final say? The last word is not ours!
There is a saying that may sound quite insensitive. “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.” It could be interpreted as if God does not care, but it can also tell us that all our plans have to have God’s will as the final goal, not ours. And if we are really intent on fulfilling God’s will then we will be able to accept that at least some of our plans do not come to fruition.
Couldn’t this approach fit in with the words of Jesus that seem so harsh and impossible to live up to? If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife, children, even himself/ herself, he cannot be my disciple. Didn’t Jesus know that there is a commitment to honor your father and mother? Of course he did. But there too, in all our plans even for those dearest to us, God’s will has to come before ours!
Seeking to fulfill God’s will in our lives is the only way to find true peace – because doing what God wants us to do is what God knows will bring us happiness and fulfillment, even when it is not according to our original plan, even if it is not easy, even if it is heartbreaking.
Recently, the personal journals of Blessed Mother Teresa were published. Some made a big fuss over the fact that she had periods of time where her spiritual life was full of self-doubt, darkness, without feeling the presence and comfort of God. When faith is not accompanied with good feelings,that is the time to trust, to persevere, to attain a new level of spiritual life. These trials did not make her less holy – her faithfulness made her more holy. Are we able to face our difficult times in life with this kind of steadfastness?!!
Think of one or two of the worst crises you had to face in your life. After the fact, did these terrible events make you a worse person or a better person? Did something good come out of your worst nightmare? Are you a different and better person today notwithstanding the scars? I think most of us know that as we emerge from a crisis, God has a mysterious new level of life to offer us.