Fr. Paul MacNeil
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, January 22, 2023
We've all experienced small miracles, little coincidences that remind us that God is still with us. But what about the big miracles? Why doesn't God answer us when we really need Him? Sometimes he does, and that's part of the problem: what about me? There's an answer to that: when we look at what God promises us, we realize that God delivers on His promises and over-delivers. Here are a few examples:
Consider Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3.
"Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse, and all the earth's families shall be blessed.”
God certainly kept this promise; we are part of Abraham's family, and he is an ancient ancestor of ours. But has also over-delivered. Not only are we descendants of Abraham, but through Jesus, we have become adopted children of God, able to inherit the gift of prosperity in our land and eternal life. Consider Ephesians 1:5:
“In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will . . . "
Or, consider the promise delivered through Jesus in Isaiah: 9:1-4: “The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light.” God over-delivers this promise as well. Not only is there light from God, but there will be no more darkness. At all. Consider Rev. 22: "And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever."
There are many other examples: Moses also delivers his people to a land flowing with milk and honey and ultimately gives us paradise. The woman is proclaimed the enemy of Satan in Genesis 3:15, and Mary gives birth to the living God. What has God promised you, personally? Of course, all those over-delivered promises apply to you, but some haven’t happened yet. What has God over-delivered in your life? Two things:
He has promised to be with us in our daily lives. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:19,20). He has over-delivered that promise in two ways, and we have seen one of them by answering small prayers and by His eternal presence in the Eucharist here at Mass. God doesn't have to do any of this in our daily lives to fulfill His promise to us, but He does, and that in itself is a huge miracle, however small it seems to be, however small we seem to be.
At the same time, in over-delivering His promises, we have no idea how far God will go in His generosity to us. I conclude with a verse from Paul's letter to the Corinthians: (1 Cor. 2:9)
But we speak God’s wisdom, a hidden mystery, which God decreed before the ages for our glory and which none of the rulers of this age understood, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him"