“I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” Jeremiah
Getting married… Beginning a new school year… Starting a promising new job…
Celebrating the birth of a baby…
New beginnings bring much anticipation, energy and rejoicing!
It is my joy to work with engaged couples in their marriage preparation,
as they affirm their choice in each other and look forward to their new life
together. As in all relationships, however, it is important for the
couple to realistically assess not only their strengths, but also to be aware
of how they will handle their many differences in temperament, personality
and upbringing. There will be struggles and disagreements in their
life together and developing ways to forgive and accept one another as they
grow in their relationship is paramount to a loving marriage.
It is this same awareness that the readings bring to us today in our relationship
(Today’s reading from Jeremiah is one of many scriptures from which the engaged
couple may choose for their marriage liturgy.) God promises to forgive
the evildoing and remember their sin no more as God offers this new relationship/covenant
with the people.
But all forgiveness involves both parties in a relationship. As the
psalmist states, “…my sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit.” I must
not only be willing to acknowledge my limitations and failings, but open
myself to God’s spirit to create a new ‘…steadfast spirit within me.’
It is only with God’s help that I can truly become renewed in my friendship
Alone, I cannot know God’s ways but can ask for guidance to know where the
Spirit leads me.
In today’s gospel, Peter has proclaimed Jesus as, “…the Christ, the Son of
the living God.”
However, a bit later, he protests Jesus’ foretelling of the suffering that
is to come. Jesus commands Peter to let go of his insistence
that no harm will come to Jesus in Peter’s presence. “You are thinking
not as God does, but as human beings do.”
Well, yes, I suppose that is the way we all think…as humans. We do
not want suffering to be part of our lives, our commitments, or our relationships
with one another or with God. However, as exciting as new beginnings
are, they all bring struggles and difficulties. It would be nice to
avoid or do away with such hardships, but this is unrealistic.
How DO we handle the day to day challenges in our lives? A ‘can do’
attitude may be important to meet the adversities, but if I get caught in
‘…what ever it takes, I’ll meet the challenge…’ mentality, I find myself
coming up against obstacles that are overwhelming. It is then that
I realize, once again, that I can’t (nor does God expect me to) handle life
on my own.
After all, God has promised, “I will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
Can we let God be God…let God handle what we can’t? My prayer is to
know the difference between what I am called to address with God’s
help, and what is beyond my capabilities so that I can allow ‘God to be my