I received a piece of mail yesterday from an office of the Archdiocese. The notice informed me that these summer days are the perfect time to plan for the new year. I groaned. I am not a good planner. When someone asks me about what will happen many weeks/months/years into the future, I respond with a blank stare. It is not that I am uncaring about the future or that I do not have a vision and hope for tomorrow. It is just that in the moment, for me, it is hard to look beyond the present.
This is partly because I am so engaged in the present and doing lots of stuff and enjoying it. To stop that and think about tomorrow seems — awkward. So it is that I push myself to plan for the days and time ahead. And when I do, I can sense a desire in me to want to have control over that in the same way that I might be able to manage the present situations. Herein lays the problem.
None of us have control over tomorrow. We like to think we do. If we plan adequately for today, we will be in good shape for tomorrow. The future never comes, or, there are no tomorrows. We have heard these thoughts before and they are unsettling. Of course, the point is, when tomorrow comes it is today and there are, therefore, no tomorrows. However we look at it, each of us must contemplate our life and where it is going. Even if we avoid doing so, some unexpected event will force us to have to face tomorrow.
It is at this juncture that our faith can save us. We Christians believe that God has a plan. I do not necessarily know it – nor should I need to. Yet, I do need to believe that God has this situation figured out. The planning and control part of all of us feels that we need to get everything in order so that the anticipated and the unanticipated will be met with an adequate response. What a heavy burden to carry! Who can figure all that out?
Of course, we need to responsibly plan for each day. Yet my sense is that God wants us to be concerned about our daily lives such that we live our lives well as Christ has taught us. Our energy and worry ought to be more about the needs of others than ourselves, and it is our faith that frees us to live that way.
The Good Samaritan, who stopped on the road to Jericho to care for the victim of robbers, had every reason to be cautious and wonder what this was going to cost him … Clearly, this disaster was not in his plans that day. His faith allowed him to step forward and place his comfort and convenience aside for the welfare of another.
Jesus holds up the Samaritan as the example of how you and I are to take on each day: grounded in the command to love God and our neighbor and free to do just that. Often that will mean having our plans for today and tomorrow, yet, being ready to live freely so that God’s love both sustains me and directs my planning.
in Ordinary Time
Weekend of July 11/12 2020
In today’s second reading, Saint Paul gives us reason to hope
for a wondrous future beyond our imagination. He preaches this hope amidst the suffering of the early Christian communities. “Brothers and sisters: I consider that the sufferings of this present time are as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed for us” (Romans 8:18).
Good stewards realize that by remaining faithful to the Gospel with persistence, fervor and endurance, our hope in the promises of Christ Jesus will be rewarded. Reflect this week on concrete ways you can remain faithful to the Gospel during these challenging times.