Padre Paul’s Ponderings: Elizabeth, Zechariah and John show us how God needs to be in Control

Elizabeth, Zechariah and John show us how God needs to be in Control

Last week on Monday, we celebrated the solemnity of the birth of John the Baptist.
His birth is celebrated right around the time of the summer solstice as the days begin to shorten; he represents how humanity can do great things, but ultimately without God we will never be perfect or reach our potential. (Jesus’ birth who he points the way to we celebrate in six months at the winter solstice as the days lengthen again, symbolizing the light of God dispelling the darkness and giving us hope).

In the reading from Luke’s first chapter that day, we met Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist. People want to know what her child’s name will be. She says “John” but they are rather surprised as this wasn’t a family name. So they ask Zechariah his thoughts. The only problem is Zechariah can’t speak, so they had him a tablet and he writes “John” and then he is able to speak. The reason he can’t speak is earlier on in the story, he doubted God’s angel Gabriel who foretold this thinking he and his wife were too old so how could this happen; the angel said he would be speechless until the events foretold took place. But once he trusts in God, he is able to speak again.

Elizabeth, Zechariah and John all show us a very important thing through their lives, namely that God needs to be in control of our lives. What this means is we have to trust God as we go through life, but also trust that He, not us, will be in control of others and through it all, we need to have patience in the process as well.

Elizabeth and Zechariah could have rejected God’s plans, but ultimately their trust leads to their joy at the birth of a long-awaited child. It’s worth asking ourselves how we trust in God. That trust takes many forms. Trusting in his mercy when we make mistakes. Trusting that He is with us through peaks and valleys of life. And also trusting that He will guide us in our vocation being open to His challenges for us. Sometimes He may bring us places we don’t want to go at first, but such amazing things await when we trust in Him.

Elizabeth and Zechariah also trust in God’s plan for John as he ages. They certainly could have led him in another direction, but they let him become his own man and follow the plan God had for him. At Mass that day last week, I talked a bit how something we have to be on guard against is making sure we are not too controlling of others. Certainly we guide our kids as they age with household rules, chores, getting them to Mass and do homework, etc. But a wise parent realizes their child isn’t some type of robot. It’s why at a baptism right after the priest or deacon asks “what name have you given your child?” the Sign of the Cross is traced on the child’s forehead; it symbolized us trusting the child into God’s care and that this child as all of us, belong to God. So parents need to ask themselves as their children age, are they willing to let their kids find their way in life by supporting them doing the sports and activities they want to do on their own, and their choice in vocation, or are they trying to live their dreams through their children? If married, do you view your marriage as a partnership and respect one another or is one person too controlling? For all of us, we have to ask do we try to manipulate, or are we a control freak who can’t let go, or do we trust in other people?  There is a difference between speaking our mind, and trying to guide people by talking about our faith, and controlling someone so we ultimately get our way, because in the
end it’s not about our way, it’s about God’s way and remembering each person is a
unique creation in His image.

Lastly through it all, are we patient? Zechariah and Elizabeth waited so long and nearly
gave up hope. As we wait for things to unfold in our lives and the lives of others, it can
be tough to be patient and “trust the process.” But remember God never abandons us,
and even if we don’t see progress in ourselves or others or aren’t getting to where we
want to be just yet, give it time. So many things happen when we least expect, and just
as a seed grows below the surface for so long, the same is true with spiritual growth in
one another too. From trying to find a new job and pursuing our vocation to trying to
help someone sort out their life or “get their head screwed on straight” as so many
parents go through those turbulent times with kids, patience is so important to have
through it all. Thankfully God is patient with us despite our propensity to fail often, may
we have that patience too with one another.

Life brings with it so many surprises, and try as we might we just can’t control
everything, including ourselves and one another, nor should we. So let’s let Jesus take
the wheel as we go down the road of life and we’ll find the final destination is truly what
eye has not seen and ear has not heard.

Have a great week and wonderful Independence Day holiday.

God’s blessings to you!

Fr. Paul

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June 2019

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