God wills only our good; God loves us more than anybody else can or does love us. His will is that no one should lose his soul, that everyone should save and sanctify his soul: “Not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.” “This is the will of God, your sanctification.” God has made the attainment of our happiness, his glory. Even chastisements come to us, not to crush us, but to make us mend our ways and save our souls.--St. Alphonsus de Ligouri
(Gospel Text: Jn 5:17-30)
Jesus answered the Jews: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath but he also called God his own father, making himself equal to God. Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, the Son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for what he does, the Son will do also. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives life, so also does the Son give life to whomever he wishes. Nor does the Father judge anyone, but he has given all judgment to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes in the one who sent me has eternal life and will not come to condemnation, but has passed from death to life. Amen, amen, I say to you, the hour is coming and is now here when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to the Son the possession of life in himself. And he gave him power to exercise judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation. “I cannot do anything on my own; I judge as I hear, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will but the will of the one who sent me.”
As a child in Joseph’s carpenter shop, Jesus learned to do what his father wanted. Perhaps he began by sweeping up sawdust or fetching a tool, then graduated to holding a piece of wood in place. Little by little, he came to understand more than how to make a straight cut or how to fasten two pieces of wood together. He began to be able to envision the finished work, to see the yoke or the table his father wanted to build. Finally, he could take a project from start to finish in a way that made Joseph proud.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus speaks of a similar intimacy with his heavenly Father. He says and does only what he has heard his Father saying and doing. His entire aim is to please his Father, to accomplish his Father’s purpose. Because he keeps that whole purpose in mind, he is able to undergo setbacks and apparent disasters. He knows that somehow they all contribute to the great plan of salvation.
Like Jesus, we all want to do God’s will. But in order to become effective in our “work”, we too need to understand the “big picture.” Sometimes we get tied up in knots trying to figure out little things.
Today, Jesus lets us in on an open secret: “The Father raises the dead and gives life” (John 5:21). This is one of those “big-picture” truths that can help in your daily decision making. God is building an eternal kingdom in which everyone is fully alive in him. So how will your choices today help you to experience that life?
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