It’s a joy to be here at St. Alphonsus Ligori. I’m looking forward to our time together this weekend and through Tuesday. I really just have two thoughts for you today.
The first is this: God’s terms are better than ours. Today we see James and John telling Jesus how things should be. “We want you to do whatever we ask you,” they announce to the Good Lord. We want it on our terms. We have thought it out and we have a plan.
I often reflect on this idea of “our terms” versus “God’s terms.” Because a lot of times we think our plans are so much better than God’s. After I was a priest for one year, I had the perfect idea: I would stay the associate pastor at OLG but also become the chaplain at Roncalli. Roncalli is the Catholic high school nearby OLG and I had grown to love helping out there. I wanted to be the chaplain. I had lots of reasons I thought I should get that assignment. A lot of people thought I’d get it.
And at first I was quite unhappy with this. Now that I look back, though, I’m glad. Because had that happened, there’s a good chance I would never have been moved to Shelbyville a year later. And you know what — so many people in Shelbyville have brought me so much joy! I can’t imagine my lfie without some of them! And I wouldn’t even know so many of these great people had my terms been the terms we went by.
Can you imagine how horrible our lives would be if all our prayers were answered as we thought they should be? If our terms were the terms that determined things?
What’s that song by Alan Jackson — I thank my God for unanswered prayers.
Better to go by God’s terms. That’s why we bother with confession, adoration, prayer, etc…..is becuase that’s how we come to know his terms!!!!!!!
Second thought. if you really want to be great, you gotta get over yourself. James and John want to be great– and maybe that’s an good desire, but theirs as tainted quite a bit by pride. So is ours oftentimes. They want to be Jesus’ “favorites.” They thought they were all that and then some.
We tell our kids from day one how wonderful and great they are. That’s ok I guess, but sometimes it’s a helpful project to discern: how am I not great? Because when we tell our youth or ourselves that they are so very very great, we can fall into this trap that we can do everything ourselves. Pelagius is a heretic who got into trouble because he thought he could become great, and get to heaven, all on his own. For that we deem him a heretic.
In order to be truly, authentically great, we need each other! We need Blessed Mother! We need God! Reflecting on how we are NOT great enables us to go out and search for others who can supply for what we lack!
These 40 hours that lie before us…..they are an opportunity for us to seek God’s terms and to receive the graces we need for greatness from him. When we approach Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, we plug into the ultimate power source. Please come and take some time in front of the Blessed Sacrament during the 40 hours devotion. It will change your life!