Sunday January 30, 2022, The 4th Sunday Ordinary Time (Cycle C)
The tie in between today’s readings: Embrace Your Destiny
Psalm 71:1-6; 15-17, Jeremiah 1:4-5: 17-19, 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13, Luke 4:21-30
Most people think that fate and destiny are the same thing. They aren’t. Fate is passive. You leave things to fate. You accept fate. You surrender to fate. Fate is the drifting Lazy River course in the waterpark of life: comfortable, predictable, and secure. Fate doesn’t conquer you. There was never a fight. You succumb to it because fate is easy. Finally, at the end of the floating and it’s time to get out of your inner tube, you rationalize your frustration at your dead-end existence and unrealized goals by blaming others. But the truth is, you never took control of your life in the first place. You’ll discover too late that there is no victory in victimhood. Destiny, on the other hand, defeats fate by making hard, risky, choices. It chases dreams and follows passions. It stumbles and gets up again in the pursuit of finding all the potential that life has to offer. That’s what you were created for! That’s where God partners up alongside of you with His invitation, “Fear not. I am with you. I will never leave you. Risk with Me.”
God has a destiny particularly fitted for each of us. We call it His will. Usually, He clues us into it through the unspoken languages of interests, pursuits, opportunities, and gut feelings. We get a little skittish with the idea of following God’s design for our lives. That’s because we don’t look at it as a partnership with the Almighty. Not to say that following your destiny doesn’t take courage, it does. You have to step out and trust your partner in this venture. In today’s reading, God tells Jeremiah that his destiny is to be a prophet to the kings of Judah. Like many of us, Jeremiah starts to make excuses. Understandable. Taking up your destiny is an adventure and let’s face it: adventures are scary. The Sovereign Lord doesn’t sugar coat the mission. It will be a hard-hitting counter-culture message with repercussions guaranteed. God tells him to get going. Don’t fear them. I’ve got your back. That’s a good message for all of us, too.
Beside courage, destiny requires you to be defiant in the face of opposition. In Luke 4, Jesus tell everyone in his hometown that He is the Messiah. Nobody believes Him. Despite the miracles that they heard He was doing in the surrounding towns; they still contemptuously see Him as the carpenter’s kid. They demand a miracle of their own! Jesus cites two Old Testament incidents that drive home His defiant message: “No! I don’t do tricks.” The enraged townspeople rush at their “homeboy” determined to throw Him off a nearby cliff. Jesus stops, turns, and passes through the mob unscathed and goes His way. Seems like they got their miracle after all. Stay true to your God directed destiny. Don’t compromise.
There is suffering involved with your destiny. King David in today’s Psalm is surrounded by conspirators and, since we don’t know the end of the story yet, anything could happen. Just accept it. Anybody who wants to follow God’s will is going to run across suffering of one kind or another. The world tells us to avoid it. Embrace it instead. Your partner, God, is building your character through it. Endure it knowing that He loves you and will develop love’s qualities in you as seen in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. He wants you to become like Him: patient, kind, and forgiving. Through His power, you can bear, believe, and hope in all things. Follow your destiny. Stick with God’s plan for you. His plan and love never fails.