Reflection for Monday October 22, 2018: 29th Week of Ordinary Time.

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Morse, Edward
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Today's readings deal with our desire to control the future.  We often fool ourselves into thinking we have control, but we do not.  We grasp at control, but like smoke or vapor, it eludes us.  We have the desire, but not the power.  This is frustrating. |The first reading refers to a state of death — being dead in our trespasses and sins.  In this state of utter helplessness, God intervenes, showing his mercy.  He chooses to do so in the ages to come, which are within his control, not ours.  The riches of God's mercy are not something that we can control or channel for our purposes.  But we find ourselves within the flow of this mercy, moving through time, and moving toward a destination that is beyond our imagination. While we may want to choose the destination and time of arrival, these are utterly beyond our control. |In the meantime, we keep moving through more familiar territory.  We must become content in moving in the direction that God is choosing for us, which requires us to trust him completely and to place our future in his hands.  This is not a situation of control, despite flashes of competence that may occur to us.  It is a situation of dependence and faith.  We are not able to bark commands and master our destiny.  Instead, we must listen and watch for the signs of the times as we move forward. |The parable of the rich man in today's gospel illustrates the reality of this state of dependence while operating under the illusion of control.  He boldly directs his future path:  tear down these barns and build bigger ones!  My dreams are large!  I will choose them!  But the control that he imagines is ephemeral.  He eventually must reconcile his dreams to the reality that he is not controlling anything.  He must travel another path, which is not of his choosing. |There is much about this current world that differs from what we might choose.  We do not control the ages to come.  We are given many choices, but they are not always the choices we desire.  But these scriptures point to a goodness that is deeper and richer than our desire.  Our desires may only be for bigger barns, but the gift we are given is greater than this limited imagination.  What does that look like?  What will that gift mean to us?  What will satisfaction feel like, when we have only longing in this world? |These readings leave us in our unsatisfactory state.  They remind us that we are not all we think we are, at least not yet.  And yet they hold promise for us to persist and to carry on in faith.  They point us toward God, who holds the future.  The ages to come will yield their fruit, and that fruit will not disappoint.   Thanks be to God.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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