Father John Denburger, OCSO
27th Friday in Ordinary Time
Joel 1: 13 – 15; 2: 1 – 2; Ps 9; Luke 11: 15 – 26
The prophet Joel and the people of his time were faced with a devastating invasion of locusts; he writes: “What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.”
But for Joel, this became more than a plague of insects no matter how damaging; by God’s gift of insight, he perceived something beyond nature. Since nothing happens by chance in God’s world and everything comes to pass under His dominion, whether willed or permitted, Joel heard a divine message.
Joel saw the ruin and questioned, “What is God teaching through this locust invasion?” He posed this question because there is nothing, good or bad, which cannot become an instrument of God’s teaching, that is, if we are willing to ask and just as willing to listen to whatever the response might be.
For this listener graced by God, he heard a call to repentance “the day of the Lord’s coming” and so Joel makes a passionate cry to the priests, the ministers, the elders and all who dwell in the land to prepare for judgment. It is coming, be assured so turn to the Lord; this is the most important thing that you will ever do. Nothing else is so important: “the day of the Lord is coming!” Repent and turn to the Lord – a plea heard again and again in the Word of God.
No matter what we experience, no matter what life brings, God is always present in it otherwise He would not be God. There is no situation that is beyond God’s power and His will, His desire to teach, to lead to truth. Because we given the Holy Spirit, we already have the wisdom, the insight to seek the truth. It is a matter of asking the Lord, What do you want me to learn from this happening, this struggle, this temptation, this failure, this sin? What wisdom do I need to live my life as Your son, Your daughter? I want to embrace this lesson because I believe in You, my God otherwise my belief is questionable.
Jesus proclaimed, “Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters!” To seek truth, wisdom is to be with the Lord as His own and to scatter, even to be against the Lord is to live on the surface of life, blown this way and that way by life. To gather or to scatter, the choice is yours/mine!