Thursday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time (September 7, 2017): Attaining full knowledge of God's will.

Thứ Tư, 06-09-2017 | 16:03:12

Today’s Readings:
Colossians 1:9-14
Ps 98:2-6
Luke 5:1-11

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God,
he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret.
He saw two boats there alongside the lake;
the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets.
Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon,
he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore.
Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat.
After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon,
“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.”
Simon said in reply,
“Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing,
but at your command I will lower the nets.”
When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish
and their nets were tearing.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat
to come to help them. 
They came and filled both boats
so that the boats were in danger of sinking.
When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said,
“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”
For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him
and all those with him,
and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee,
who were partners of Simon.
Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid;
from now on you will be catching men.”
When they brought their boats to the shore,
they left everything and followed him.

Good News Reflection: 

In our first reading today, Saint Paul says that we should be filled with knowledge of God’s will and have all spiritual wisdom and understanding. This eliminates doubts about the right decisions to make. It prevents misinterpretations of the signs he gives. It enables us to think with the mind of Christ, replacing what we assume to be right with what the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, knows is right.

God usually doesn’t give us knowledge of the future, but he does always give us knowledge of his will. He never wants us to be confused about his will. He wants us to have his wisdom and his understanding so that we can walk in a manner that imitates Jesus. But how can we accomplish such complete knowledge on this side of heaven’s door?

Notice that Paul connects “every good work bearing fruit” with “growing in the knowledge of God.” The more we do good works — imitating Jesus — the more we grow in knowledge of God, and we gain more understanding of his will, and it becomes easier to imitate Jesus. Instead of waiting to understand God’s will before we act in a Christ-like manner, we should first choose to do it, because the activity builds understanding.

Normally though, we hesitate when we’re unsure of God’s will. It seems wise to do nothing until his will becomes clear to us. Waiting is better than going off in the wrong direction or making a mistake, right?

If discernment about God’s will doesn’t come quickly, it could be because God is saying, “Wait, slow down, don’t move ahead until I make my directions clear to you.” Or it could mean that we’re not seeing what God has placed right in front of our faces; we’re not hearing his voice because our will disagrees with his will and we don’t want to believe the truth, or because fear is telling us a false message about it.

God’s will is always summed up in one, simple directive that Jesus emphasized: Love. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul, and love everyone else as you love yourself. To get out of hesitancy mode and step forward in God’s will, we must do something — we must do what love would do. We must make a decision that will bear good fruit. If it honors God, if it is loving to others, and if it will benefit our eternal souls, we should step forward in faith trusting that the good work we do IS God’s will.

If this accidentally leads us away from his perfect, preferred plan, we can be pleased that at least we’re not sinning. God is certainly very pleased with that! In our act of doing good, even if we make a mistake in interpreting God’s will, we discover God’s will. We learn from doing. We learn from the good fruits that are produced by our efforts and we also learn from our mistakes.

If we truly desire to do God’s will and follow his guidance, we are directable. He gently but firmly steers us back into the plan that he designed. Even our mistakes become blessings!

For more help with this, download my collection of reflections entitled “Knowing God’s Will and Doing It Well”, published by Catholic Digital Resources:

Today’s Prayer:

My Lord, give me the necessary strength and faith to leave behind everything that blocks me from following You and from letting You work in me the wonderful change You want to make in my life. Amen.

© 2017 by Terry A. Modica

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