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Living Your Gracious Will

First Reading: Isaiah 10:5-7, 13B-16

Thus says the LORD:
Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger,
my staff in wrath.
Against an impious nation I send him,
and against a people under my wrath I order him
To seize plunder, carry off loot,
and tread them down like the mud of the streets.
But this is not what he intends,
nor does he have this in mind;
Rather, it is in his heart to destroy,
to make an end of nations not a few.

For he says:
“By my own power I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd.
I have moved the boundaries of peoples,
their treasures I have pillaged,
and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned.
My hand has seized like a nest
the riches of nations;
As one takes eggs left alone,
so I took in all the earth;
No one fluttered a wing,
or opened a mouth, or chirped!”

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it?
Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it?
As if a rod could sway him who lifts it,
or a staff him who is not wood!
Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts,
will send among his fat ones leanness,
And instead of his glory there will be kindling
like the kindling of fire.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 94:5-6, 7-8, 9-10, 14-15

R. (14a) The Lord will not abandon his people.
Your people, O LORD, they trample down,
your inheritance they afflict.
Widow and stranger they slay,
the fatherless they murder.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
And they say, “The LORD sees not;
the God of Jacob perceives not.”
Understand, you senseless ones among the people;
and, you fools, when will you be wise?
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
Shall he who shaped the ear not hear?
or he who formed the eye not see?
Shall he who instructs nations not chastise,
he who teaches men knowledge?
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.
For the LORD will not cast off his people,
nor abandon his inheritance;
But judgment shall again be with justice,
and all the upright of heart shall follow it.
R. The Lord will not abandon his people.

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

NAB

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I recently became acquainted with the life of Venerable Solanus Casey of the Capuchin Friars. He immediately came to mind when reading today’s Gospel from Matthew:

“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.”

Father Solanus felt called from childhood to religious life, yet struggled with academics and nearly failed out of the seminary. As it was, he was ordained a “simplex” priest, one who could not hear confessions or give doctrinal sermons due to his lack of understanding of deep theological matters. And yet, the people of the parishes where he served loved him and found in him a man full of God’s love and humility—so much so that his cause for canonization was opened shortly after his death.

He humbly served as door keeper and in various ministries to the sick and suffering. Father Solanus was willing to stop his duties to listen to anyone who came to him, and to affirm God’s deep, abiding love to them. He began a soup kitchen during the Depression that continues to this day in Detroit, and up until the very end of his life, he poured out all the gifts God had given him, simple though they were. As Jesus says, such a life poured out for others in humble service is the gracious will of God.

To me, Father Solanus embodies today’s Gospel. He was a simple man who, although a priest, did not comprehend the vast theological intricacies of our faith. But what God teaches us through his life is that we don’t need to. God reveals to the simple of heart, and sometimes mind, what is necessary for salvation. And that is this, as the prophet Micah says, “to do justice, to love goodness, and to walk humbly with God.”

Let us be like simple, holy Father Solanus today, walking humbly with the God who lifts up the lowly and fills up those who are empty.

How can you embrace simplicity in your relationship with God? Are you spending so much time trying to learn about God that you cannot simply experience His presence?

photo credit

Sarah Babbs is a writer and mother of three, including twin toddlers. She writes about faith, social teaching, and navigating life as a motherless daughter and mother. You can find out more about her here.

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