A Good Word by Fr. Greg Jakubowicz, OFM 10.16.2022
Updated: Nov 14
Hello Friends, The scripture readings for this Sunday urge us not to give up – especially when we are tempted to give up on life, on the Church, or even on God.
The challenge is for you and me to stay in right relationship with our loving God, even - or particularly - when things aren't going the way you and I want them to go. It is easy to love God and be in relationship with God when everything is going our way. But when we don't get what we want - and we've prayed for it - and we still don't get it - there is a temptation to dismiss God as not being there for us. But the truth is God continuously loves you and me into being. And God is always there for you and me even when we don't easily recognize God’s loving embrace of us.
I think the difficulty can be when somehow I think I know more than God. I know what I need and what I want and what is right and what should happen and when it should happen. And if it doesn't go the way that I have figured it out, then there must be an error in God's judgment. Right? Now I don't really say that because I can easily recognize that stance is foolish. God is Truth and all loving – God cannot ever be in error or not loving. That would not be God. But, if I’m honest, at times I can make the mistake of equating God's love for me with getting what I want. Why would an all-powerful, good and loving God let me experience hurt or pain and suffering? Maybe God isn’t all-powerful, or good, or loving? This quandary is called Theodicy. And while I don't necessarily have an answer to why bad things happen to good people, I do know and believe that God is pure Love and is the most powerful force in the Universe. So, I must rethink my conclusion when I mistakenly believe that God is wrong or not loving. The error is mine, not God’s. If I believe in God’s unconditional love of all creation and me, then I must persevere in trusting, believing, and loving God even when things aren’t going my way or I don’t understand.
And the best way to persevere in keeping a right relationship with God has been to keep my prayer life vibrant, reflective, and honest. Staying true to authentic prayer – not just individual prayer, but the prayer of the Church (the mystical Body of Christ) and learning more and more about our God as has been revealed in our faith tradition – all helps me in strengthening my relationship with our good and loving
God. And that is why I don’t give up on God. And the best thing – even when I might stray or lose my perspective – God doesn’t give up on me. God doesn’t ever give up on you, either! Please, never stop trusting God's unconditional love and acceptance of you! I repeat - God never gives up on you. May that be our source of strength to persevere when times are tough. And may you and I always be able to respond to God's love with love. As always, if there is anything we can do for you at UB Catholic campus ministry, please let me know. We are here for you. May God bless you with Peace and All Good. Fr. Greg