View all Gospel Reflections |
Fear and Understanding
Saturday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
While they were all amazed at his every deed, he said to his disciples, “Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men.” But they did not understand this saying; its meaning was hidden from them so that they should not understand it, and they were afraid to ask him about this saying.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, open my ears to hear your words, open my eyes to see as you see, and open my heart to love as you love. I ask for the grace of understanding.
- “The Son of Man Is to Be Handed Over”: The disciples of Jesus were amazed at his multiplication of loaves and fishes and the many healings he performed, but in this moment, Jesus intentionally diverted their attention away from his successes. Instead, for the second time, Jesus told them he would suffer and die. Still, it didn’t sink in. Human understanding is not always capable of grasping the ways of God. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—oracle of the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:5-6). Jesus wanted the apostles to know that suffering fit into God’s plan, so he would tell them as often as they needed to hear it. When we are confused or seek discernment about the way God is working in our life, we need to persevere in prayer until we understand the message.
- They Did Not Understand: The disciples did not understand, but they would eventually understand. Faith is believing that what one does not currently see, one will see. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6). Jesus told his disciples he would suffer so that when it came about, they would remember what he told them. When he was taken by the guards in the garden of Gethsemane, the apostles would recall Jesus’s words and be assured that, despite all appearances, God’s will was being done.
- Afraid to Ask: What would have happened had the apostles asked for more details? On other occasions when they asked Jesus to explain something they did not understand, he spoke more plainly. When we’re confused by life’s circumstances, do we seek clarity from God? What keeps us from asking him to explain? God always wants to hear from us. We can trust him with our confused feelings, with our anger, with our sorrow. He is pleased when we come to him as dependent children, asking for clarity about what we don’t understand.
Conversing with Christ: Dear Lord, when life gets confusing help me to trust in you even though my understanding is limited. Increase my faith! Help me to confront my fears, to place them before you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will spend some time in prayer sincerely pouring out my heart, trusting that my loving Father hears my plea.
For Further Reflection: Psalm 42 expresses the longings of the human heart.
Written by Renee Pomarico.