In today’s First Reading (Isaiah 49:14-15) we read, “The Lord has forsaken me.” Can we relate to such a passage today? Why doesn’t God comfort his people in 2017?
In recent Confession and counseling sessions, I have been speaking to a lot of people in challenging life situations who want to know, “Why stuff is happening? How long will it last? Why is God doing this to me, to us, to them?”
An answer might be found in referring to the Second Reading (I Corinthians 4:1-5), “Do not make any judgment before the appointed time.” I suggest that maybe they are mis-judging the situation and the intentions of God.
At Baptism, I explain to the parents and godparents that their child is not an accident of nature. He or she is not matter-plus-time-plus-chance. Each child is created by God “on purpose – for a purpose.” The job of the parents and godparents is to determine that purpose and help the child discern that purpose as well. When someone is moving within their purpose, they are also moving within the anointing of Holy Spirit towards their destiny. Things seem to move along smoothly and, event in the midst of demands for hard work and long hours, there seems to be an anointing of the tasks at hand and a calm, peaceful contentment that one if moving in the right direction.
If that not happening, is it possible that you are not moving within God’s purpose for you? In that case, is it any wonder you’re struggling? Then it ain’t a “God thing” – it’s a “YOU thing!” God won’t be mocked, played or manipulated. He will also not be ignored. God isn’t going to bless you until you are at a place where you can receive the blessing and, in turn can bless others as well.
Thus, at times a challenging situation is that God is actually containing, yet simultaneously sustaining, you. You’re not dying. Your clothes are not falling off in tatters. You still have food on the table and a roof over your head. But you are certainly not thriving, because you’re not doing what God wants you to do OR you’re doing activities and have taken on responsibilities that God has not asked you to take on.
The root of the word “discernment” means to “cut away.” Once you begin to cut away at activates and responsibilities for which were not intended for you, and begin to move into those activities and responsibilities that are aligned with your purpose, God will move your life away from “containing and sustaining” into “attaining and ordaining.” You will begin to attain the blessing of God and not just for yourself, but so that you can share the blessings with others around you. You will know that you are on the right path when you begin to see the “Fruits of the Holy Spirit” (peace, joy, patience…. and probably a few more good nights of sleep as well). This is a sign that God is “ordaining” the activity in which you are engaged.
Audio version of the homily is here: