Third Last Sunday after Pentecost 11.11.18 Providence (5th after Epiphany)
Today is Remembrance Day for the end of World War I, one hundred years ago.
We pray for an end of wars, for true peace among nations, realizing that such can never happen unless Man declares peace with Almighty God!
It is the rebellion in the human heart which leads to all the conflict; not only wars but every kind of discord between people.
To make peace with God means that we accept His holy will, that we express gratitude for His providence, that we live in partnership with Him on all points.
He wills above all else that we come to understand the special role He has for us.
Most of God's creation has no choice but to obey Him. The inanimate objects, such as the sun and the stars – they are impressive, and in their way they give glory to God; but they have no knowledge of what they do. The sun had to rise this morning; we had a choice!
We are blessed with the ability to reason, to decide what we are going to do; in short, we have free will. We can obey or disobey, build up or tear down.
This gives us the opportunity and the obligation to give full honour to God in our hearts, minds, bodies.
We are stewards of creation, but this means more than looking after the environment. It extends to every matter where there is an element of right and wrong involved, where good and evil are opposed, and good must be chosen.
When we choose the good we are sharing in the creative and saving will of God.
We talk of God's providence. This goes further than sending us rain and sunshine etc. His providence includes that He enables us to take our place with Him, as sharers in His authority over the universe.
It would be easier if God simply did everything for us, but it is to our glory that He entrusts us with a more difficult role. It is clearly God's will that we bring ourselves, brains and all, into union with Him.
Which gets back to the War, and we are reminded of how poorly the human race has taken up the special role entrusted to it.
Logically, each generation should be wiser and better than the one before. Every generation of children thinks it knows better than their parents, and also better than their children; yet there is a depressing sameness about human history, always plagued by wars and other forms of hatred.
They could actually be better by calling on the grace of God; it is just that not enough people are requesting it.
God provides this grace, and provides also that we would understand our need for it. He wants us to wake up to this.
We can be strong, confident, trusting children of the Father, and disciples of Our Lord.
If we face difficulties - and there are many – they also can be provided for. Divine grace will make us bold, and selfless, once we have enough of it.
God's ways can be mysterious to us. We wonder, as in today’s Gospel, how He lets evildoers do so much evil.
We come to see that it is mainly to give those same evildoers the chance to repent.
When a sinner repents the angels rejoice (Lk 15,10). In terms of God's providence this is the best thing yet. This is what He wants, above all else. This is what He ‘provides’ for.
When will they ever learn? As we contemplate a hundred years of not-learning-much, we can resolve to do better with the next hundred years. We take our place as sharers in God's creative and saving plans.