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GOD WRITES STRAIGHT WITH CROOKED LINES

Father Francis's picture
Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Gen. 27:1-5, 15-29 & Mt. 9:14-17

Taking advantage of his father’s blindness and with the connivance of Rebekah, his mother, Jacob deceived the old man. He was his mother’s favourite child and she was ready to cheat her elder son of his inheritance. As a result Jacob benefited from the blessing which his father intended for his elder son and which ensured that Jacob and his descendants would possess fertile lands.

There is no doubt that both mother and son lied in order to deceive Isaac. God could not have approved of such behaviour yet He is able to bring good out of evil. God writes straight with crooked lines. In this case, it was Jacob, and not his brother Esau, who was to become the ancestor of Jesus the Messiah.

What God did in the story of Jacob and Esau is repeated time and time again. We do what we know to be wrong. We harm other people, but God can turn events to His advantage. I have known many instances of children who have neglected their religious duties and caused heartache to their parents. It was only when a parent died that they came to their senses: the death made them realise how they had offended God and hurt their parents, and that realisation brought them back to a relationship with God. Another example is the man I knew who was accustomed to driving like a maniac. One day he was involved in a serious accident and nearly killed a child. When he realised the child was unharmed his first words were 'Thank God' and the accident made him think more deeply about his life. He began to act more responsibly and to have respect for life, his own and other people's. He acknowledged that he had much to thank God for and began to pray regularly.

There is so much evil and hurt in the world today, but it does not have to remain like this. Thank God that He has the wisdom and power to bring good out of all our disasters and pains. However bad things are we must never despair, for God is on our side if we turn to Him for help.

The disciples of John the Baptist were upset with Jesus' disciples because they did not fast, one of the three most important religious duties, along with prayer and alms-giving. Jesus gave a simple explanation. There's a time for fasting and a time for feasting. To walk as a disciple with Jesus is to experience a whole new joy in a relationship akin to the joy of celebrating with the groom and bride their wedding bliss. But there also comes a time when the Lord's disciples must bear the cross of affliction and purification. For the disciple there is both a time for rejoicing in the Lord's presence and celebrating His goodness, and a time for seeking the Lord with humility and fasting and for mourning over sin.

Lord Jesus, fill us with Your Holy Spirit that we may grow in the knowledge of Your great love and truth. Help us to seek You earnestly in prayer and fasting that we may turn away from sin and conform our lives more fully to Your will. May we always find joy in knowing, loving and serving You.

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