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Doing God’s Will

In today’s readings (January 14, 2011), we once again hear about those whose struggle to do God’s will.

In the gospel, many people are coming to see Jesus and hear him preaching.  A group comes with their friend who is a paralytic.  Whatever they know about Jesus, they are clearly convinced he can heal the paralytic.  Why else would they be willing to climb up on the roof of the house, carrying their friend, tear open the roof, and lower the paralytic down to Jesus?  Clearly, they believe God’s power is at work in Jesus.

Jesus takes the opportunity not just to heal the man but to turn it into a teaching moment.  He does not say to the man, “Be healed. ” No, he says “Child, your sins are forgiven.”  There are some scribes present and they immediately accuse Jesus of blasphemy.  They believe that only God can forgive sins.  What they fail to realize is who Jesus truly is.  If they did, they would know that he does have the power to forgive sins.  We must realize that the scribes do not oppose God’s Will.  The problem is that they do not know God’s Will.  They do not understand that Jesus is The Son of God.

Turning to the first reading from the Letter to the Hebrews, it quotes Psalm 95:11, “As I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter into my rest.”  One might think of our eternal rest that we enjoy in Heaven.  The Psalm is reflecting on the Exodus event.  As they made their way into the desert from Egypt, the people failed to trust in the Lord when the food and water supply ran out.  For their lack of trust, that generation was not allowed to enter into the promised land, hence never experienced rest in the promised land.

We are called to follow God’s will.  When we face struggles in our lives, we might wonder if it is God’s Will.  We can wonder why God doesn’t eliminate our problems.  Sometimes he does.  Sometimes our struggles continue. 

Sometimes, when things seem to be going hard, I ask myself why the struggle?  Am I facing a struggle because I am not following God’s Will for me?  Or are my struggles of human origin?  If you read  the prophets in the Old Testament, you will find that they faced many people who chose not to follow God’s Will.  Through the opposition, the prophets endured in God’s Will.

We are to pray for the wisdom and understanding to know if we are on the path God has laid out for us.  How do we know if our struggles are because we aren’t following God’s Will or because of others’ resistance to God’s Will? 

One indication can be, when in the midst of the struggle, that we can find some rest.  When I say “rest” I am not referring to physical rest.  I am talking about rest in our soul, meaning God’s peace.  Another way I look at it is to ask myself can I imagine myself doing anything else?  Is my heart really in it?

How do you know when you are doing God’s Will?

Peace,

Fr. Jeff

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