Monday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time – Lk 14:12-14
In today’s first reading, from Saint Paul’s letter to the Romans, the Apostle to the Gentiles expresses the mystery of God’s providence and mercy is five very dense verses. He begins by saying: “For God delivered all to disobedience, that he might have mercy upon all.” The Greek word Paul uses for “delivered” is συνέκλεισεν (synekleisen), meaning, “permitted” or “allowed.” God allowed sinners to fall into disobedience, not to condemn them, but rather to save them. God doesn’t like sin, but He can use even sin to bring about His ends, to get good out of something evil. God’s designs are never frustrated, not even by human failings. Indeed, as Aquinas says, God’s omnipotence, His power, is shown most clearly in His forgiveness of sins. Paul then praises this mystery of providence as he proclaims: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given him anything that he may be repaid?” For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
In this life, we will never understand completely how God’s providence works: we can’t know how He is arranging all things for our good, or how, amid bleak situations, He’s planning to get great blessings from what is bad. However, by faith, we know this is the case, and so, if we’re really convinced of this truth, our lives should become a constant hymn of praise for God’s wisdom and love.
We are all familiar with the story of Jacob’s ladder: Jacob decides to sleep for the night in the middle of nowhere, and, while there, he has a dream of angels and an assurance of God’s protection. However, when he wakes up, he says something very beautiful and profound. He remarks: “Truly, the LORD is in this place and I did not know it! How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!” (Gn 28:16-17). “Truly, the LORD is in this place and I did not know it! How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!” When we become convinced that God’s providence and mercy touches on absolutely every aspect of our lives, even the smallest details, we see that the Lord is in every place, hidden behind the veil of daily events and common occurrences. Especially as religious, we need to reflect that wonder expressed by Paul and Jacob, and to be convinced that no matter where we are, or what we’re doing, however boring or exciting it might be, every moment, and every place, is the house of God, and the gateway to heaven. We can ask ourselves: how well do we try to see the hand of providence at work in our lives? Do we try to see it even in the most boring or difficult moments, just as Jacob saw it in a rock?
Let us ask, through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Divine Providence, for the grace to trust in God’s providence and His mercy, which constantly arranges everything for our good.