Praying for Guidance During Tumult

While we know this season by the unfortunate phrase, “Ordinary Time,” the Gospels offer us anything but an ordinary glimpse of Christ’s relationship with his disciples. If only we had the wisdom to perceive and seize the opportunity this “ordinary” season affords us.

These two weeks include not only parables, Jesus’ principle method of teaching the crowds, but an intimate and patient explanation of these stories. At their request, Jesus begins to make plain to them the meanings of select parables, or scenarios and stories that illustrate the nature of the kingdom of God.

I’ll concentrate here on the two explanations the Lord gives. First, in the parable of the sower, we learn that the Gospel is not received by all as it is intended. Some of us never receive the word. Some are exposed to it, but due to circumstances in life, coincidental events or personal priorities, the Word is forgotten, and the chance for faith to grow is lost.

Others of us receive the Good News with enthusiasm, but again, other factors intervene, and while we were eager to learn of it initially, and perhaps even began to apply it, our hearts were not ready to change in the ways the Gospel invariably demands.

Still others are in such a state as to be ready, willing, and able to receive knowledge of the Good News. Most often,
I think, this readiness for the Gospel implies some circumstances we would universally see as unfortunate. Usually, we are poor, broken, or in pain when the Light breaks through.

Second, Jesus gives us a lesson about the nature of communities, and most generally, the human community. Unfortunately, there are people who, under whatever motivation, act as enemies and opponents to the kingdom.  This message is alarming, and it ought to be. While we hope and believe the best about those around us, some, perhaps many, set back the work of the Gospel. Even more disturbing is what this says about our churches.

Strangely, this combination of lessons is applicable for the current time in our parish, Fortunately, it speaks not to
the darkness in which we find ourselves, but to our power to overcome it.

This is a critical time for this community to pray. We must pray for the next pastor, but principally for all parishioners. Many find the situation to be unfair, from both sides of the argument. Some would see it as a time to
flee. Others may have their faith shaken or choose to mistrust the decisions made by those that seek to safeguard the faithful.

However, these Gospels are for the hurt and those thirsting for healing, because prayer in this instance is not important in the sense that we want God to resolve our insecurities by his own means. Rather, it is merely the act
and devotion to prayer that is indispensable, because by our prayer we ourselves change.

When we approach God in prayer, our own walls are breached, our own misguidedness is mitigated, and the Holy Spirit enters in and enriches the soil of our hearts.  When we pray that God speedily give us a new pastor, we ourselves become more receptive.

If we beg God for a remedy to the confusion that has wounded us personally, or the parish at large, we can be sure that He will cut away the thorns and brambles in our own hearts that make us lose sight of the Good News.

By asking God to remove those people or influences in this local church that have caused us pain throughout these
many months, rest assured that the impediments He will remove are those in our own understanding that make us harden toward the Word of God.

What then will come of us?

What remains is good ground, pregnant with spiritual nutrients and ready to receive Christ in his fullness. What is left are stalks of wheat, bountiful and ready for harvesting, thriving in spite of negativity and adversity.

When we in our hearts are truly prepared for Jesus’ coming, whatever may pass will be to the glory of the kingdom, and bring about good for those who love him.

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