St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Year A

It happens in almost every family. Someone, despite all the advantages, love, and support given them, does something that causes others pain or bewilderment. A graduate of Catholic education leaves the practice of the faith, an education for which the parents sacrificed; a person with a spouse and children becomes tired of the responsibilities and demands of marriage and so walks out the door; another of great intelligence and talent loses him/herself to addictions.

Paul had a similar struggle. During the last 3 weeks in the Letter to the Romans, he has been trying to make sense of the fact that his fellow Jews did not believe and accept Jesus as he did. This was more disconcerting and disappointing to him than any other issue with which he had to wrestle. We’ve heard him declare that he would gladly give up his own salvation if that would only help them come to belief. His anguish for them is evident as he writes: “They are Israelites; theirs the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; theirs the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, is the Christ.”[1] You can almost hear him ask, “Why don’t they get it?” This was even more frustrating and mysterious to him given the fact that the Gentiles, without all those advantages, are coming to belief in great numbers as a result of his preaching. He hoped that would make at least some of them jealous and lead them to conversion.

In today’s reading Paul comes to the end of his mental and emotional struggle. He hadn’t solved his problem, but now was willing to accept the ways and will of God as well as his own limitations. He was willing to let go and meet God in reflection and prayer. He simply marvels at the wisdom and knowledge of God that is greater than his own.

Our own concerns these days may deal with how the Church can continue with all its problems and the attacks from within and without. They may be about senseless acts of terrorism (When are they ever full of sense?); the claims and counterclaims between Israel and Palestine; the ethnic, religious and tribal killing in African nations. They may be wrapped around medical arguments about cloning, the right to have abortion and the right to choose when to die. They may swirl around systemic racism, the overall peaceful demonstrations with rioting and looting marring some of them of the Black Lives Matter movement, and white privilege. It may about climate change and stronger and more destructive storms as we recently experienced. And it is certainly about a global pandemic and a new normal of wearing of masks, washing hands very frequently (for at least 20 seconds), and looking askance of others with whom we come in contact.

For all the times we’ve grappled with seemingly overwhelming issues, for all the times we’ve felt frustrated and helpless, for all the times we to have finally had to trust and let God take care of us and our world in God’s own inscrutable and unsearchable ways, we join our voices to Paul’s to exclaim: “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To God be glory forever. Amen!” [2]


[1] Romans 9:4

[2] Romans 11:36

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