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Bible Reflections View Comments

Preparing for the Future
By Diane M. Houdek
Source: Bringing Home the Word
Published: Sunday, August 11, 2013
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Someone once said, “If you want to hear God laugh, make plans.” In these days of hyper-scheduling, we often discover the truth of this as we’re waiting for a car repair, dealing with a sudden virus that hits on the day of an important meeting, or watching the rain wash away a long-awaited sports event. The things we do sometimes can seem like the most important things in the world. We can lose perspective so easily. We forget that who we are is not determined by what we do.

We need to look at the activities we spend our time on and ask not necessarily whether these produce something useful but whether they transform our souls and bring us into a closer relationship with God and with those we love.

The next time you find yourself stuck somewhere that you hadn’t expected, forget your other plans and ask God to let you know what you might take away from the unexpected situation instead. You might be surprised by a result you never imagined, an opportunity you couldn’t have created on your own.

The Gospel readings this month spend a great deal of time talking about how we spend our money. In today’s passage, Jesus tells his listeners, “Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out.” He wasn’t talking about steel-reinforced, fireproof, waterproof safes. He was telling them that there’s more to this world than this world.

In our capitalist culture, worth is inevitably determined in economic terms. We can get a pretty good idea about what’s important to people by looking at how they spend their money. We think that savings accounts and 401k accounts and maximized investments will keep us safe and secure in an unknown future. But as many a preacher has pointed out, we can’t take that money with us to the grave.

The Scriptures remind us that we can’t predict the future, and being ready for it doesn’t mean storing up supplies against the Coming Zombie Apocalypse. Rather, we need to trust that God will lead us where we need to go and walk with us on the journey.

The passage from the Letter to the Hebrews tells us: “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; he went out, not knowing where he was to go.” Abraham is held up as the supreme example of faith by the New Testament writers. He was willing to travel great distances geographically and take great psychological risks based only on the word of God. And in fact, his and Sarah’s attempts to plan and schedule the working out of God’s promise always led to disaster. We can learn much from our great father in the faith about the promises God has made to us for the working out of our lives.

The Scriptures tell us the big stories of salvation: the covenant with Abraham; the exodus; the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus. But Luke’s Gospel also reminds us that in the little things of life, we discover that God graciously gives us the kingdom of heaven.

We need to be open to making room for that gift in our lives. In small things, no less than in the great lifechanging events, we can discover where our treasure lies.



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Peter of Alcantara: Peter was a contemporary of well-known 16th-century Spanish saints, including Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross. He served as confessor to St. Teresa of Avila. Church reform was a major issue in Peter’s day, and he directed most of his energies toward that end. His death came one year before the Council of Trent ended. 
<p>Born into a noble family (his father was the governor of Alcantara in Spain), Peter studied law at Salamanca University and, at 16, joined the so-called Observant Franciscans (also known as the discalced, or barefoot, friars). While he practiced many penances, he also demonstrated abilities which were soon recognized. He was named the superior of a new house even before his ordination as a priest; at the age of 39, he was elected provincial; he was a very successful preacher. Still, he was not above washing dishes and cutting wood for the friars. He did not seek attention; indeed, he preferred solitude.</p><p>Peter’s penitential side was evident when it came to food and clothing. It is said that he slept only 90 minutes each night. While others talked about Church reform, Peter’s reform began with himself. His patience was so great that a proverb arose: "To bear such an insult one must have the patience of Peter of Alcantara."</p><p>In 1554, Peter, having received permission, formed a group of Franciscans who followed the Rule of St. Francis with even greater rigor. These friars were known as Alcantarines. Some of the Spanish friars who came to North and South America in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries were members of this group. At the end of the 19th century, the Alcantarines were joined with other Observant friars to form the Order of Friars Minor.</p><p>As spiritual director to St. Teresa, Peter encouraged her in promoting the Carmelite reform. His preaching brought many people to religious life, especially to the Secular Franciscan Order, the friars and the Poor Clares.</p><p>He was canonized in 1669.</p> American Catholic Blog Remember the widow’s mite. She threw into the treasury of the temple only two small coins, but with them, all her great love…. It is, above all, the interior value of the gift that counts: the readiness to share everything, the readiness to give oneself. —Pope John Paul II

 
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