8 Jul 2015
We human beings really like to have a plan. You know, maybe we want to lose weight; so of course, we make up a diet and exercise plan. Or we want to have more income; so we draw up a financial plan. Or, even as a Church, we want to evangelize people and get them to know God; and so, we come up with plans to try to make that happen. We human beings really like to have a plan to work with. And, of course, that can be for the good . . . or not.
When we consider the story of Joseph’s brothers, well, they had a plan when they sold him into slavery. And even in today’s story, Joseph himself has a plan when he’s being shrewd in not revealing his identity to his brothers. The difference is that the brothers’ plan had nothing to do with honesty and justice, whereas Joseph’s plan was about justice and getting to the truth of things.
And then we hear the list of the Apostles given today, always ending, of course, with Judas Iscariot. It’s always kind of a mystery why he betrayed Jesus. But it’s been suggested that he belonged to a political revolutionary group of Zealots, like Simon the Zealot. And in turning Jesus over, it’s thought that he had hoped Jesus would resist the arrest in the Garden and join the Zealot cause for revolution.
In other words, Judas had a plan: he wanted a better political-religious situation and Jesus was going to help him. Of course, Judas’ plan was not God’s plan. And it’s understatement to say that things went horribly wrong. Whether it’s Judas, or the brothers of Joseph, or Pharaoh, or Herod or anybody else’s plans, if they don’t mesh with God’s plans they’re probably not going to turn out well in the end.
The psalm puts it pretty plainly: “The Lord brings to nought the plans of nations; he foils the designs of peoples. But the plan of the Lord stands forever.” Of course, the Lord doesn’t squash people’s plans just arbitrarily. And he doesn’t foil the plans of all people. It’s just those plans we draw up that have nothing to do with God’s overall plan.
We human beings like to have plans. And that’s a good thing, because it means we’re interested in going somewhere in life; we’re interested in becoming something. A plan is a good way to get there. But our goal is to arrive at the bosom of God; and he already gives us his Son who is the Way. We can be creative with our life plans as individuals, as a parish, as families, as a Church.
But our ultimate “plan” is the life, the teachings, and the merciful love of our Lord. And so, as we try to become whoever and whatever it is that we’re planning to become, let’s stick close to the Lord; let’s stick close to the ultimate “plan” which is the will and vision of God.