Thursday of the First Week in Ordinary Time
I Samuel 4:1-11
Take a hymnal in my hands and say. Dear God, I am going to close my eyes, and when I open them, I need this hymnal to turn into a brick of gold. (Pause) Maybe I need some help.
How about all the second graders closing your eyes and when I say open them see if this book turns into a brick of gold. Why did it not happen?
In our first reading, the Israelites go to battle against the Philistines, and the Philistines defeat the Israelites by killing 4000 men. The Israelites retreat and get the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments, the holiest thing they have and go back into battle. This time they are defeated again by the Philistines by losing 30,000 men, and the Ark was taken from them and carried away. What a disastrous defeat. What happened? They thought they could control and or manipulate God by doing all the right things. God cannot be controlled.
In our Gospel, a leper approaches Jesus on his knees and asks, “Lord, if you wish it, I can be healed by you.” Jesus does heal him and once he is healed; he goes through-out the town and villages telling everyone about Jesus. The leper knows that it is all about Jesus and surrendering to God’s will.
So, how do we prevent ourselves from falling into this trap of trying to manipulate God or control God? We need to be deeply aware of God’s presence in our life and know of God’s mercy and his love for us. We need to eliminate anything, like trying to control God or manipulate God from our spiritual life. We need to listen deeply to God’s voice and act on his word. Finally, we need to accept who we are in the eyes of God and act on his will.
The Eucharist is given to us as a gift to do all of this today.