by Lucinda M. Vardey

The readings for this Sunday turn what our cultures consider normal or usual to the obscure ways of God, always a mystery to our human reasoning.

We are told by Isaiah to seek God while God may be found: from the psalm that God’s presence is near, in fact as close to us as a heartbeat. Yet, God’s thoughts are not ours. Paul declares dying to be a necessary gain in order to live life true to the Gospel.

The Gospel teaches us that it is no good using our human logic to decipher God’s ways. The hardest work we will ever attempt in our spiritual life includes giving up trying to work God out, dying to our separate agendas and plans, so that we may experience the amazing power that is unleashed through practicing what Jesus preached.

At a recent Mass in a small town in Umbria, Italy, the priest called the Gospel the “Wisdom of Love.” Love speaks more clearly in mystery. It is through our hearts that we can more naturally place Jesus at the centre of our lives, making familiar our place at the last so he can be first in everything.

In her excellent book Radical Gratitude Mary Jo Leddy wrote that finding happiness by truly believing that Jesus meant what he said, required a turning away from the economies of consumption, gain, competition and rewards, towards one of gratitude and gift. Gratitude develops the grace of hope and trust in the everlasting goodness of God, acceptance of the wisdom of God in each situation, and receptivity to being surprised by God’s generosity.

Sundays Readings:

Isaiah 55.6-9

Psalm 145

Philippians 1.20-24, 27

Matthew 20.1-16