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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 and Paul: 
		<strong>Peter (d. 64?)</strong>. St. Mark ends the first half of his Gospel with a triumphant climax. He has recorded doubt, misunderstanding and the opposition of many to Jesus. Now Peter makes his great confession of faith: "You are the Messiah" (Mark 8:29b). It was one of the many glorious moments in Peter's life, beginning with the day he was called from his nets along the Sea of Galilee to become a fisher of men for Jesus. 
<p>The New Testament clearly shows Peter as the leader of the apostles, chosen by Jesus to have a special relationship with him. With James and John he was privileged to witness the Transfiguration, the raising of a dead child to life and the agony in Gethsemane. His mother-in-law was cured by Jesus. He was sent with John to prepare for the last Passover before Jesus' death. His name is first on every list of apostles. </p><p>And to Peter only did Jesus say, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matthew 16:17b-19). </p><p>But the Gospels prove their own trustworthiness by the unflattering details they include about Peter. He clearly had no public relations person. It is a great comfort for ordinary mortals to know that Peter also has his human weakness, even in the presence of Jesus. </p><p>He generously gave up all things, yet he can ask in childish self-regard, "What are we going to get for all this?" (see Matthew 19:27). He receives the full force of Christ's anger when he objects to the idea of a suffering Messiah: "Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do" (Matthew 16:23b). </p><p>Peter is willing to accept Jesus' doctrine of forgiveness, but suggests a limit of seven times. He walks on the water in faith, but sinks in doubt. He refuses to let Jesus wash his feet, then wants his whole body cleansed. He swears at the Last Supper that he will never deny Jesus, and then swears to a servant maid that he has never known the man. He loyally resists the first attempt to arrest Jesus by cutting off Malchus's ear, but in the end he runs away with the others. In the depth of his sorrow, Jesus looks on him and forgives him, and he goes out and sheds bitter tears. The Risen Jesus told Peter to feed his lambs and his sheep (John 21:15-17). </p><p><strong>Paul (d. 64?)</strong>. If the most well-known preacher today suddenly began preaching that the United States should adopt Marxism and not rely on the Constitution, the angry reaction would help us understand Paul's life when he started preaching that Christ alone can save us. He had been the most Pharisaic of Pharisees, the most legalistic of Mosaic lawyers. Now he suddenly appears to other Jews as a heretical welcomer of Gentiles, a traitor and apostate. </p><p>Paul's central conviction was simple and absolute: Only God can save humanity. No human effort—even the most scrupulous observance of law—can create a human good which we can bring to God as reparation for sin and payment for grace. To be saved from itself, from sin, from the devil and from death, humanity must open itself completely to the saving power of Jesus. </p><p>Paul never lost his love for his Jewish family, though he carried on a lifelong debate with them about the uselessness of the Law without Christ. He reminded the Gentiles that they were grafted on the parent stock of the Jews, who were still God's chosen people, the children of the promise. </p><p>In light of his preaching and teaching skills, Paul's name has surfaced (among others) as a possible patron of the Internet.</p> American Catholic Blog The way of the cross is unavoidably uphill. Christians don’t get to carry their cross downhill. Suffering has always been inextricably linked with Christianity, but those who carry their cross willingly in these times can serve as an example and inspiration to all of us.

Be a Friar today

 
CATHOLIC GREETINGS
Sts. Peter and Paul
Honored both separately and together, these apostles were probably martyred during the reign of the emperor Nero.

Wedding
Help the bride and groom see their love as a mirror of God’s love.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help
God gave Mary to us as a help in our quest for holiness.

Thank You
Don’t forget to express your gratitude for the thoughtfulness of others.

New Home
The family home is the place where children first meet and learn about God.




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