June 21, 2020 – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/062120.cfm)
“What are your plans? What’s next?”
Perhaps nowadays we find ourselves confronted quite frequently with these questions about our near future, as raised to us by others and/or even we ask personally ourselves. However, unlike before when it was easy to see opportunities ahead, today’s quarantined and lockdown world during pandemic times renders our foreseeable future bleak and unpredictable. Wherever, whatever, whenever and however we find ourselves now, to plan ahead for what we want to happen next is quite difficult and challenging. This is not only because possible opportunities for our future can be impossible to discern and predict, but also the normal lives we used to live with have to adjust and adapt to the new and unfamiliar realities of the pandemic world and times we now live in. Whether we like it or not, our life is changing. Our world is changing, We are changing. Challenging it is to deal with and manage our present realities, how much more difficult than it is to foresee and make plans for the near future.
And it is and would be difficult and challenging for everybody. Making plans would surely be difficult for people who know what they want, for they also see how limited and constricted they can now be, considering available resources, mobility, programs, systems and schedules. It would also be much challenging for people who does not know readily what they want because they have to tend first to the immediate needs of others. We think here of people who are in helping professions, those who are in the frontlines of public services, medical-mental-spiritual health, education, and above all our parents who have to postpone, numb and even forego their own personal plans just to accommodate and address other people’s needs while also worrying about available resources and possibilities. We could understand then that raising the question now about future plans can be difficult and challenging, if not, already distressing and depressing. How game-changing indeed our world now we live in.
Somehow however, we may also wander what would Jesus say about our plans. What would Jesus say about our difficult and challenging realities now and ahead?
Like a teacher giving pointers to students before an exam or a coach giving advices to players during the game, we hear Jesus in our gospel today telling His disciples and us now words like: “Fear no one… do not be afraid… worry not… you are worthy… acknowledge me… have faith.” As we struggle with our present life and worry about our future, Jesus is saying us here words of assurance, encouragement, affirmation, faith and confidence on us, as His on-going guidance and directives for us. Moreover, Jeremiah & our Psalm today also reminded us how God protects and answers those who remain faithful and loyal to Him in the midst of life-adversities, same way as Paul wants us to recognize the promise of God’s grace and Christ’s gift that “overflow for the many”. What is very important here is that God has a plan in Jesus; and we are to acknowledge, believe and trust in it. Somehow in our game of life – stable or changing it might be, we need to believe and trust that “God got our backs for He has a plan for us”.
It is once said: “When we get what we want, that is God’s Direction. When we don’t get what we want, that is God’s Protection.” True indeed, when our wants and plans are in sync with God’s plan, we are being directed on the right track. But when our plans and wants are not in sync with God’s plan, we are being protected for we are off the tracks. This is not about us surrendering to fate or have an irresponsible “do or die, que sera sera” attitude towards life, but is all about doing our part, involving with and being responsible not only for our own actions and plans but moreso, in God’s grand plans and ways of being in life. Not getting what we want while also not knowing and unsure of what our next plans then is perhaps God’s way of protecting us from possible failure and death, and His constant invitation to believe in Him and trust in His plans for us.
So, what’s the next plan?
Since God got and has a plan for us in Christ, we abide and trust in His plans, His directions, and His protection…. That’s the Plan. In other words, Be part of God’s plan.
And may this be our prayer to Him: “As we abide in Your plans during these trying times, Thanks you, Lord for protecting us from what we thought we wanted, and for blessing us with what we don’t know we needed.” Siya nawa. Hinaut pa unta. Kabay pa. Amen.
(By: Fr. Aphelie Mario Masangcay CSsR, a Filipino Redemptorist Missionary stationed in Gwangju South Korea, though now still stranded in Cebu until further notice for available flights.)