October 9, 2019
(St. Denis, Bishop and Companions, Martyrs)
The disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” Lk_11:1-4
God said to Jonah, “Have you reason to be angry over the plant?” “I have reason to be angry,” Jonah answered, “angry enough to die.” Then the LORD said, “You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in one night it perished. And should I not be concerned over Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot distinguish their right hand from their left, not to mention the many cattle?” Jon_4:1-11
God has a plan for every one of us. And Jonah was having a little bit of a hard time understanding it.
Ever get to the end of your rope, beloved, ready to cash in your chips and be done with it all?
And then there are those Christians, smiling at us all the time, even though we know they’re poor, even though we know they’re suffering. And we just have to wonder: How do they do it? And why are they always pouring cold water over all my fiery anger, over all my self-pity?
Well, Jonah thought he was doing all the right things; and that he had a perfectly valid reason for every little thing he did. But he never realized that his train was on the wrong tracks, that his reasoning was flawed, and that there was another side to his one-sided picture of life.
You see, Jonah felt that God called him to do the impossible. And he knew that he couldn’t fight God, so instead, he fled. And in His flight, Jonah learned that there really IS no place that anyone can ever hide from God. In his epic poem, Francis Thompson called our Omnipresent God, “The Hound of Heaven.”
And yet, if we truly are seeking a hiding place from God; and if we feel that God has become the enemy of all of our self righteousness, then, just maybe, we’re the ones needing His mercy and forgiveness.
Maybe WE are the ones who need to remember the repentance part of the Lord’s Prayer – about ‘forgiving us – as we forgive others.’
And maybe we’re the ones who need to be seeing the world in a little different light, just like Jonah, in God’s light and not our own.
Sure there are times when the world really does seem to be crashing down upon us. But those are the times when we also need to put on our Christian smiley faces. Those are the times we need to pray a little harder, to sing a little louder, and to read a little deeper about the boundless love and mercy of our God.
Yes, God has a plan for every one of us.
And Jesus has shown us a way, that not even death can block.
The Bishop, St. Denis held his head up high, even after it was severed from his body, because he knew that beyond the door of death, there is a Kingdom awaiting every one of us, . . .
when we remain faithful
to God’s plan of love.
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