Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Reflection for the 6th Week of Ordinary Time, Part 2

Thursday – A Covenant

After the flood, God made a covenant with the Noah and his descendants and with every living creature. God would never again destroy the world by a flood as He had done. As a sign of the covenant and a reminder of His love, He set a rainbow in the sky.

God is always a father. Often He has to discipline His children, as He did when He sent the flood over the earth. But He never wants the total destruction of humanity, no matter how sinful we human beings can be. He wants to teach us and guide us to new life, to share in His life and love, and to bring the rest of the world along with us.

When we see a rainbow, then, we should not think about the symbolic value many in the modern world have tired to impose upon it (for that agenda is decidedly against God's will). Instead, we should remember the covenant, the family bond, that God has made with humanity and with all of creation. The rainbow is a sign of God's love and the order God has given to the world and to human life, and it is a reminder that we must follow His moral law if we are to be truly happy.

Friday – Designs and Plans

Today's Responsorial Psalm begins

“The Lord brings to nought the plans of nations;
He foils the designs of peoples.
But the plan of the Lord stands forever;
the design of His heart, through all generations.”

God's designs and plans and our human designs and plans are often very different. Look at today's first reading, for example. The people designed a tower that would reach all the way up to Heaven. They planned a grand city and thought that they could make a name for themselves and become wealthy and famous and self-sufficient.

But God had another plan. He confused the people's language and brought all their grand designs to nothing, for He knew that without Him they had nothing. They needed to learn that lesson, too. God's designs and plans were best, and they stood fast.

In the Gospel, we also see the contrast between God's designs and plans and those of human beings. Jesus says,

“Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow Me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake
and that of the Gospel will save it.
What profit is there for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
What could one give in exchange for his life?”

We humans wish to avoid the cross; Jesus tells us to embrace it. We humans plan and design constantly in order to save our lives; Jesus tells us to let go. We humans scheme to get as much out of the world as we can; Jesus reminds us that the things of the world are valueless in the perspective of eternity.

God's designs and plans stand forever. Our human designs and plans come to nothing unless they conform with those of God.

Dear Lord, conform all our designs and plans to Yours. May we always desire Your will and Your will alone. Amen.

Saturday – Terrified

Peter, James, and John were truly terrified at the Transfiguration. After all, Jesus, Whom they thought they knew so well, was suddenly very different, very strange, very awful in the true sense of the world. He stood before them shining, dazzling white, revealing a glimpse of His hidden divinity. He was the same Jesus, but He was also so much more.

Then Moses and Elijah appeared and started conversing with Jesus. Talk about an experience out of the realm of anything normal! Two of the greatest figures in salvation history suddenly stood right before the three disciples.

But it didn't end there. Just as Peter finished making his suggestion about three tents (he really didn't know what to say but didn't realize that he didn't have to say anything at all), the cloud enveloped them, and a voice spoke out of it: “This is My beloved Son. Listen to Him.”

Of course the disciples were terrified. In the days of Moses and Elijah such an event would probably mean certain death for any mortal who happened to be that close to the Living God.

But things were quite different now. The Living God was walking among them, and with the Transfiguration, the terrified disciples were now just beginning to understand that.

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