“I Come to Do Your Will”
The line from Psalm 40 which appears in the Letter to the Hebrews and which we pray as the Responsorial Psalm takes some getting used to: “I come to do your will.” The mere suggestion that we ought to do something which someone else suggests goes against so much of our instinct. It seems the antithesis of what we think will make us free and happy.
Even for people of faith, the thought of “doing the will of God” can lead to images of being constrained to do difficult things, to suffer a lot, to be made to do things that do not make me happy and which leave me all alone. How can I want to do that?
Jesus’ words in the gospel paint an alternative picture: “For whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” For Jesus doing God’s will is all about being in relationship. Jesus lives to do his Father’s will, because of the love that they enjoy. He encourages us to dwell with the truth that doing the will of God connects us to him, to increase the love that we ought to be enjoying.
A married couple once confessed to me that in the days of getting to know one another, she often went to his softball games while he often went shopping with her; only later did they discover that she disliked softball and he couldn’t stand shopping! Why did they do it? It was, of course, to be in relationship, to be in love, with one another.
Doing the will of God may take us in some surprising directions and, yes, even to do things that are difficult. But it’s not about doing this or that; it’s about being more in relationship, being more in a relationship of love.
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