Updated: Nov 8, 2021
THIRTY-SECOND SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Deep down inside, we all like to be in control and to take charge of our own circumstances. Unfortunately, the control that we so desperately long for can be a very elusive and frustrating quest. Many a time, circumstances can leave us at the mercy of things we can’t control; things that remind us that we are not really in-charge—sickness, accidents, natural disasters, pandemics, even death—creating anxiety, desperation, and even hopelessness.
On this 32nd Sunday, the first reading (1 Kings 17:10-16) tells the story of a woman who had completely lost control of her life due to a three-year drought, in her homeland and was waiting to bake and eat the last piece of bread for her family’s last meal. With no one to help her and no government welfare system, she was utterly destitute.
It was to such a woman that God sends Elijah to go and ask her for water and her last bite of food. You know how difficult it is to share bread with others when you don’t even have it for your own children. Yet Elijah asked this woman for a portion of that last piece of bread and told her that God had promised that she will not die of starvation; for the jar of flour will not diminish nor will the jar of oil run dry. Was this woman going to trust the word of the Prophet by handing this whole situation over to God and believing God and His promise or should she stick with her own plans? A woman of faith she must have been, she chose to be obedient to God’s word; to give to God first (by giving the first piece of the last bread to Elijah); to surrender to God; to trust that God will be faithful to His promises; to let go and let God. So, she baked the bread and took it to Elijah. Scripture tells us that when she got back home, she discovered that the jar was overflowing with oil and the pot overflowing with flour. Just at the time when all seemed hopeless, when all seemed lost, when the only certainty was starvation and death, this woman believed God and so witnessed the fulfillment of Divine promise.
The words of Elijah to this widow are no different from God’s word and promises to us in Scripture. The question is what do we do? Do we stick to our own plans and reassert our control, or do we trust God and surrender our lives to Him? This widow surrendered to God. Was it easy? No. Was it pleasant at the moment? Absolutely not! Did her obedience pay off? You bet it did, and always does!
Just as God promised this woman so has God promised us when Scripture says: “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse that there may be food in my house; put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, and see if I do not open the floodgates of heaven for you, and pour down upon you blessing without measure!” (Malachi 3:10); “Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38); “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28-30); “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matt 6:33). Do you believe God when you hear these words?
Let us believe God when Scripture says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverb 3:5-6). Believe God when Scripture says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken” (Proverb 55:22). Believe God when Scripture says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)
So, when times get hard and you get stressed thinking about all the possible things that could go wrong, take it to the Lord in prayer and follow the promptings of His Spirit, for nothing is impossible for the Lord. The Lord God says, “I have promised it and I will do it. Believe it!