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May 23: Wednesday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time [II]

Reading James 4:13-17
Gospel Mark 9:38-40

If the Lord wills it....

Today’s First Reading from the Letter of James focuses our attention on a single phrase that we could profitably reflect on throughout this entire week. St. James encourages his listeners to preface any announcement of their future plans with the phrase, “If the Lord wills it....”

This is a simple phrase. But we tend today not to prefer what is simple. We think that complexity is somehow part of everything that’s successful. Perhaps such thinking is a variation on the false idea that “more is better”. The more plans we have, surely the more we will accomplish in life. And don’t we tend to believe that accomplishments are the goal of our life on this earth?

“If the Lord wills it...” we need to do it. If the Lord wills a course of action for us, then He is with us in its accomplishment. Indeed, it is He who accomplishes it, with us as His “accomplices”, or perhaps better, the instruments in His Hand. If the Lord does not will a course of action, we ought to ask if we are wasting our time.

The middle temptation is to think that the Lord does not really care how we lead our lives, or what courses of action we take. But when we realize the depth of our Lord’s love for us, we cannot fail to recognize the extent of His direction for our lives. When we realize this, discernment becomes more important to our earthly lives.