The First Reading today seems to be filled with resentment, uncertainty, anger and fear. There is real concern, “Because his life is not like that of others, and different are his ways”. There seems, in the First Reading, to be a real resistance to consider the presence of Jesus/God, let alone accept His teachings. The Reading almost sounds envious of the goodness, the wisdom and the loving expectations that Jesus reminds us about - almost to a point where I wondered, “Is this Satan speaking”?
“With revilement and torture let us put him to the test that we may have proof of his gentleness and try his patience”.
This is not a statement from a faith filled follower of Jesus; this is a statement from a person with a hardened heart - full of resentment and anger at the goodness of God and God’s desire to help people create and live a more loving and generous life.
“When the just cry out, the Lord hears them, and from all their distress he rescues them.”
“Many are the troubles of the just man, but out of them all the Lord delivers them.”
These are the messages from God: to trust, to have faith, to live according to the teachings of Jesus. There are times, in our lives, when we have to be okay with not fully understanding the “WHYS” in life, we must move forward looking for the goodness, maintaining hope that a situation will be lovingly resolved and the goodness in people will prevail.
In the Gospel I was moved by the statement “…he did not wish to travel in Judea, because the Jews were trying to kill him.” But he does venture into a scary place, an uncertain place, knowing that he has to be “in the mix” with others, so as to share his message/his mission with others. Many of us have been in scary situations, which we would rather have avoided and yet we all have to face our fears of the unknown, the conflict. The reminder for me was very simple, “With God all things are possible” or, one of my favorites, “If God has brought me to this, God will bring me through it”.
So whether it’s a meeting with co workers, a student in crisis or a personal issue I am wrestling with, I am uplifted because I know God and I know “different are his ways” and I remain faithful to “the hidden counsels of God”.