God’s Time

First Reading: Joshua 5:9A, 10-12

The LORD said to Joshua,
“Today I have removed the reproach of Egypt from you.”

While the Israelites were encamped at Gilgal on the plains of Jericho,
they celebrated the Passover
on the evening of the fourteenth of the month.
On the day after the Passover,
they ate of the produce of the land
in the form of unleavened cakes and parched grain.
On that same day after the Passover,
on which they ate of the produce of the land, the manna ceased.
No longer was there manna for the Israelites,
who that year ate of the yield of the land of Canaan.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Second Reading: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

Brothers and sisters:
Whoever is in Christ is a new creation:
the old things have passed away;
behold, new things have come.
And all this is from God,
who has reconciled us to himself through Christ
and given us the ministry of reconciliation,
namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ,
not counting their trespasses against them
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
So we are ambassadors for Christ,
as if God were appealing through us.
We implore you on behalf of Christ,
be reconciled to God.
For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Gospel: Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus,
but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying,
“This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
So to them Jesus addressed this parable:
“A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father,
‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’
So the father divided the property between them.
After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings
and set off to a distant country
where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation.
When he had freely spent everything,
a severe famine struck that country,
and he found himself in dire need.
So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens
who sent him to his farm to tend the swine.
And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed,
but nobody gave him any.
Coming to his senses he thought,
‘How many of my father’s hired workers
have more than enough food to eat,
but here am I, dying from hunger.
I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I no longer deserve to be called your son;
treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers.”’
So he got up and went back to his father.
While he was still a long way off,
his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.
He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,
‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you;
I no longer deserve to be called your son.’
But his father ordered his servants,
‘Quickly bring the finest robe and put it on him;
put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Take the fattened calf and slaughter it.
Then let us celebrate with a feast,
because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again;
he was lost, and has been found.’
Then the celebration began.
Now the older son had been out in the field
and, on his way back, as he neared the house,
he heard the sound of music and dancing.
He called one of the servants and asked what this might mean.
The servant said to him,
‘Your brother has returned
and your father has slaughtered the fattened calf
because he has him back safe and sound.’
He became angry,
and when he refused to enter the house,
his father came out and pleaded with him.
He said to his father in reply,
‘Look, all these years I served you
and not once did I disobey your orders;
yet you never gave me even a young goat to feast on with my friends.
But when your son returns
who swallowed up your property with prostitutes,
for him you slaughter the fattened calf.’
He said to him,
‘My son, you are here with me always;
everything I have is yours.
But now we must celebrate and rejoice,
because your brother was dead and has come to life again;
he was lost and has been found.’”


mar 6

Today’s reading from Joshua is one where a little backstory goes a long way. We find the Israelites restored to their position of intimacy with the Lord, the firstborn among all nations and the delight of His heart. Things are being made new for them, and their period of exile in the wilderness is coming to a close.

But if we back up just a few verses into chapter 4, things look a little different.

Before the victorious entrance into the land of Canaan, before the end of the manna and the fruitful return of regular harvests and crops aplenty, things looked a little different for Israel.

Death. Suffering. Humiliating restitution. The expiration of “all the men of military age” who’d fled Egypt. Wandering in the desert for forty years. And finally, a mass circumcision of all the males, a new covenant sealed in blood with the God who’d delivered them, as promised.

The key detail here being eventually.

How easy it is to forget in the midst of our own suffering and hardship that God works on a different timeline then us, and always with our ultimate and greatest good in mind. Lord, I need freedom now, I need victory now  . . and too often the reply seems to be “not yet.”

His ways are not our ways, and His timing is often not our timing. A wise and holy priest shared a transformative piece of spiritual wisdom with me earlier this year that was so simple—and yet so mind blowing—that I couldn’t believe I’d lived thirty-three years as a Catholic without it:

God’s will; God’s way; God’s time.

Those are the fundamental questions of discernment, he said. And that it’s easy to get stuck on number one—God’s will—and to never ask the second two questions at all. 

My mind was blown, because if it’s God’s will, shouldn’t I rush to do it and force it and cajole and beg and . . . you get the idea.

It never occurred to me to ask Him the follow up questions, or to see the accompanying suffering or subpar circumstances as intentional, on His part. But He shows us again and again in the Scriptures that My ways are not your ways, and my plans are not your plans.

[Tweet “The fundamental questions of discernment: God’s will; God’s way; God’s time.”]

Lord, help me surrender to all three of those conditions in my own life, trusting that you desire to bring me to restoration and freedom, and that you desire it so deeply you’ll take me through anything to get me there.

photo by Sara Miller

Jenny Uebbing is a freelance writer and editor and a blogger for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their growing family. You can find out more about her thoughts on Catholicism, sex, politics, and parenting here

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