Better Late Than Never
3rd Sunday Advent
Sunday, December 13, 2020
“What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ The son said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?”
from Matthew 21:28-32
Sometimes it just takes time to figure out God’s will and put it into action in our lives. Or, perhaps, we might resist what the Lord desires, preferring to go our own way (sin or resisting a mission God has for us), only later to discover how fruitless it is in the end to reject God and his commandments and how much it harms us. As long as we live, there is still time to turn around and repent.
Saint Faustina in her diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, has a wonderful quote that we can all take to heart in this most challenging Advent season:
“My child, entrust yourself completely to my will, saying, ‘Not as I want, but according to your will, O God, let it be done unto me.’ These words, spoken from the depths of one’s heart, can raise a soul to the summit of sanctity in a short time. In such a soul I delight. Such a soul gives me glory.” (Diary, 1487)
How comforting it is that, even though at times we may say no to God’s will in anger or pride, when later we repent or think better of the situation and return to the Lord, he will be glorified by our return. How much better this is than the son or daughter who says yes to God in prayer but in reality, is doing his or her own will and not God’s.
God’s plan for our lives does not always seem to be so great. Take, for example, a person who is ill. We might pray earnestly to God for health so we can take care of our family better or to not be a burden, or just because we are sick of being sick! Yet God permits the infirmity to continue. We rebel. We may refuse to pray. Then we begin to realize that Our Lord also said yes to his own cross, that our suffering has meaning too, and then we begin to accept it, even to embrace it, knowing that God has a plan for us and is using our sufferings. Jesus’ cross had meaning; so does mine when it is united with that of Jesus.
God doesn’t ask what we can’t give him, but only what we can. His will is always best, although it can sometimes take a while for us to figure it out and accept it.