Be Prepared To Change Your Plans
Sunday of Week 13 in Ordinary Time - Year B
All of us as we grow older become increasingly time conscious. We start to live our days and weeks with one eye on the clock and the other on the calendar. There are certain things we must do and other things that we would like to do. but we are conscious that we only have a limited time in which to do them. So often we plan our days, but we find that there are times when our plans are disrupted and have to be changed.
Today's Gospel reading tells the story of such a day in the life of Jesus. It began with Jesus on the seaside, surrounded by a great crowd of people where He had an ideal opportunity for teaching. That may have been His intention on that day, but other things intruded, and His plan had to be changed.
Life is like that. We plan one thing and often end up doing something else. Some of the plans we have to change are of little importance, such as minor adjustments to our daily routine. For example, we plan to go shopping and an unexpected visitor calls. Other plans are of enormous significance such as the long term plans we make for our lives. For example, we train to be a secretary, and then find we have arthritis in our fingers and can no longer type. Our whole career has to take a new direction. Being prepared for changing our plans can be one of life's most difficult tests. In today's Gospel Jesus shows us how to cope when we are forced to change our plans.
Jesus teaches us to be flexible. He must have had some kind of plan for that day in His life. It is almost unthinkable that He would just amble into any day, with nothing particular in mind. Children may do that, or tramps, but not Jesus. He also had big plans for His life, but they were not chiselled in granite. When the occasion called for it, He changed His mind and did what was asked of Him. That is the only way to live in this world.
In this Gospel story Jesus teaches us that our plans most definitely have to be changed when it concerns people in need. When our plans for the day do not allow time to help a hurting person, those plans have to be changed. That is
what Jesus did. The sick child in this story needed Him, so He set everything else aside and went straight to her. This was so typical of Him. He would leave ninety-nine sheep safely in the fold, and go out in search of the one that was lost.
Nothing was more important in His life than helping someone in need. If we would be His disciples, that same concern must have a prominent role in our lives.
There are a lot of hurting people in this world. We could all work
trying to help them and we would get nothing else done. Someone has to teach, someone has to deliver the mail, someone has to sweep the floors and wash the dishes. Someone has to earn a living. We cannot drop everything and spend our days helping the needy. It is simply a matter of priorities.
Most of us are busy people. But busy at what? Have we checked our priorities lately? A mother or father could ask, "Am I spending time at work that could be better spent with my children?' Only a Mum and Dad know the answer to that
question. To spend an hour on the floor playing a childish game with your children might accomplish more than you could imagine. A retired priest once said, 'I have been with many people in the last days and hours of their lives. They
have made their confession and expressed all kinds of regrets. But not one of them has ever said, "I wish I had spent more time at the office." Changing our plans in accordance with the right priorities may turn out to be the most important things we ever do.
In a very busy life, Jesus changed His plans to help a dying child and a chronically sick woman. I am sure that if Jesus had to live that day again He would have done exactly the same. By changing His plans He achieved so much good. How often when we have had to change our plans to help others we have discovered at the end of the day it all worked out for the better.
Lord Jesus, if today or any day we find we have to change our plans for the good reason of helping others in need, let us not look upon it as a disappointment but as an opportunity for doing good.