Homily for Sept. 1, Thursday of the XXII week in Ordinary Time
As hard as it may be to believe, we are already in September, and the kids are back in school. It’s only right that we have often prayed for them during the prayers of the faithful at this daily Mass. School is not something that most children enjoy, but it’s very important that they get a good education in the knowledge and wisdom the world has to offer. A good education isn’t enough to make young people productive, responsible citizens, able to provide for themselves and their families, but it sure helps.
All the education in the world, though, can’t make people happy, unless it includes knowledge of God and of God’s plan for our salvation. That’s why St. Paul is so fervent in his prayers that the Colossians “be filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding”. It is only with that personal knowledge of God that comes through prayer, reading the scriptures, and the shared faith experience of the community, that we can truly be fulfilled. God’s grace gives us wisdom, strength, endurance, and patience in the face of life’s difficulties, and enables us to “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord”. Then we can reap the fruits of God’s salvation and forgiveness, being brought into the Kingdom of His beloved Son. The fruit of obedience to God’s grace is true freedom, peace, joy and rejoicing.
God’s wisdom is different from the wisdom of the world. Sometimes we have a hard time understanding God’s plan as described by the Church. Especially in today’s culture, some things taught by the Pope or published in the Catechism can seem counter-intuitive. That’s when we have to remember Christ’s promise to guide the Church in the Truth through the power of the Holy Spirit, especially through St. Peter and his successors, the popes.
When we accept God’s will despite our doubts, the results will always be for the best. That’s what St. Peter discovered in the Gospel reading today. Jesus told Peter to cast the nets, and Peter, as a seasoned fisherman, protested that it would be pointless. But Peter wasn’t just a fisherman. He was also a disciple of Jesus, so he then said, “at Your command, I will lower the nets” – and his obedience was rewarded with an abundant catch of fish. His continued faith and obedience made him a great apostle and “fisher of men.” May God grant each of us wisdom, faith, and trust in God, so we may reach the goal of eternal salvation and join all the saints singing a joyful song of praise to the Lord.