Who Really Knows God’s Intent
A Reflection for the 21st Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFD
Mission Sts. Sergius & Bacchus/Franciscans of Divine Mercy
The second reading for this Sunday clearly states that no human can ever really know God’s mind or the reasons He chooses to do anything.
"How rich are the depths of God – how deep his wisdom and knowledge – and how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord? Who could ever be his counsellor? Who could ever give him anything or lend him anything? All that exists comes from him; all is by him and for him. To him be glory for ever! Amen". Romans 11:33 – 36
For centuries churches have taken this line; “You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.” from the Gospel of Matthew 16, to justify their selectivity of who is and who is not welcome within their church and also to claim that the Bishop of Rome is the one and only head of the church and many other actions that his excluded people rather than include ALL God’s Children.
In Actuality, the words that Jesus used in His answer are almost identical to those used in Isaiah 22 which is the first reading for today and one that Jesus would have been very familiar with. “I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one shall close, should he close, no one shall open. I drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a throne of glory for his father’s house.”
We must remember that even though Peter was the person who gave the answer to Christ’s question; “Who do people say the Son of Man is?’; and Peter replied “You are the Christ", all twelve apostles were present and all, except Judas, after the decent of the Holy Spirit upon them went forth and established churches, the first being the Church in Jerusalem headed by James.
The Church of Rome actually was one of the last churches to be established. But I digress from the main point I want to make.
There is nothing in this world that was not initially created by Almighty God and still is watched over by Him.
God created everything for a purpose and for good. Unfortunately, we children of God seem to find a way to turn some of God’s creation into something bad. We misuse God’s creation in ways that He did not intend. We also make judgments about some of God’s creation using our less than perfect minds and human values to perceive God’s intent, usually incorrectly.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans makes it very clear “No human can ever penetrate God’s motives or understand God’s methods” “No human can ever know the mind of God”
What we do know is that God, the God who created all things, sent His only begotten son to earth to make His desire and will clear, The same God Jesus the Christ said was His Father in Heaven, is first and foremost a compassionate, merciful and infinitely loving God who cares for ALL His children.
A loving God would never condemn a person to everlasting suffering because they loved another and lived their life in a decent and lawful manner with concern for others and a love and devotion to God.
The son of God, Jesus the Christ, never turned anyone away that came to Him in belief and trust.
Christ denied no one who sought help. Jesus often instructed that His Father was a forgiving Father and would welcome all who might have strayed away just as the father in the story of The Prodigal Son welcomed and rejoiced upon the son’s return.
We, humans need to stop believing that we know the mind of God and the reasons He chooses to do things.
We need to stop condemning people and rejecting them from giving honor, praise and glory to the God who created them as they are.
We need to seek ways to end the cycle of violence against God’s children that has brought so much pain and suffering in this world and caused untimely death to so many.
We need to begin to find ways to help those who are poor, aged, sick, homeless and addicted to drugs and alcohol and put an end to wars that are waged in order to gain riches, property and dominate the minds of God’s children making them subservient to the few.
We need to live the Sermon of the Mount and be like the Good Samaritan.
We need to love one another as God loves us and respect the diversity that God created instead of trying to control and change it to suite our inferior selves. Only God is perfect and we can never know God’s reasons or intent. AMEN