Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
by Deacon Anthony J. Cincotta
Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish, Glen Mills, PA
Memorial Feast: Saint Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-+1591) Patron Saint of Young Students, Christian Youth, Jesuit Scholastics, the Blind, AIDS Patients
Book of Genesis 12:1-9, Psalm 33:12-13, 18-19, 20 and 22, & Matthew 7:1-5
Departure of Abraham for Canaan by Jacopo Bassano, circa 1570.
Today's scripture indeed spoke to me, especially of holding onto God's hand and letting go of others' hands. It spoke to me of trust and obedience. From the Book of Genesis,
God tells Abram to pack up the family and head for Canaan; and he obeys. God tells
75-year-old Abram, "I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you," and Abram believes. The psalmist proclaims, "Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be His own." In the Gospel narrative of Saint Matthew, Jesus instructs us to remove the wooden beam from our eye before we attempt to remove the splinter from our brother's eye.
I've always marveled at the trust and obedience displayed by many characters from the Holy Bible. Pack up your family, your belongings, and move. Drop your nets and follow me. Take my hand and heed my call. It seemed so simple for them to obey God and to do what they were told. My question is, would you be able to do it? Or is it beyond our ability to surrender ourselves to God? I believe it would be hard to do because we want to hold the hand and do the guiding. Isn't it a bit ironic how often people of faith are also control freaks? When I look into a mirror, I suspect the reflection I see looking back is a control freak. It could be because throughout my adult life, I have been placed in positions of authority and trust and that being a leader became natural.
I do my best to view the world with Christ's compassion. To my delight, I believe I do a pretty good job of it. But, then, there are times that I fail miserably, and three things occur: I notice the splinter in another's eye, I ignore the beam in my own, then I run to confession.
I believe it is natural to want to be in control. It is normal to think we know what is best. However, is it normal to think I know what is best for others, too? I have to ask myself quite often—Am I offering my hand to help this person, or am I giving my hand because I think I can fix this person? Discernment in this area is essential. It is, for certain, a constant struggle. Our desire should always be as an ambassador for Christ. When we operate in "control freak" mode, we become a stumbling block between God and the person. Therefore, our prayer is for wisdom and discernment in this area and to trust in God's wisdom, love, and forgiveness.
Question of the Day: Reformed Theologian Dr. Reinhold Neihbur (1892-1971) said, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Can you?
Prayer: "The clean of hands and pure of heart shall climb the mountain of the Lord and stand in his hold place. (Psalm 24)