Milton Berle once said:
My doctor recently told me that jogging would add ten years to my life. I think he was right. I feel ten years older already!
We often hear about “Free Will”, and “Everything happens for a reason.” If you think about it, these two terms don’t coincide. How can one have the freedom to choose right from wrong, and then when there are consequences from our choice (good or bad), can we really justify our actions by stating that it was all a part of God’s Plan for us? Yes, God is eternal (always was, always is, and always will be), so he already knows what we are going to choose, but that doesn’t mean it is a part of His Plan. However, it does mean He will use what we choose.
Jeremiah in our first reading felt duped by God. He thought that seeing he was a prophet for God Himself, he would be on Easy Street, however quite the opposite happened. And the more he tried pulling away from his obligation, the more he felt pulled into God’s plan for him and the world.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus must’ve had a glimpse of what the Father wanted of him, but that didn’t make his choice any easier. Just because He is the Son of God, that didn’t cheapen the ultimate sacrifice of giving up his life for us in any way imaginable. He knew why he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer on many different levels. The same must be true for his disciples, who had given up everything to follow him. Then they hear that he was going to Jerusalem to die?
During these hard times that we find ourselves in, we ask the question of “What’s next?”
The focus of today’s message has to be found in our second reading from Romans:
Do not conform yourselves to this age, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you many discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Like today’s response to the Psalm, we say: “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.”
Everything doesn’t happen for a reason, if it did, we would hold no responsibility for our thoughts, words, or our actions. We would hold no consequence or personal responsibility for them. However, God doesn’t make it that easy for us, rather he tells us to pick up our crosses daily, and simply follow him, even if we might feel duped every now and then.