January 31, 2016 — Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Often in this space, we tend to focus on the stewardship messages found in the Gospel reading or perhaps the Second Readings, many of which are letters written by St. Paul. However, on this Fourth Sunday of Ordinary Time, there is a simple statement in the First Reading from Jeremiah that echoes its strong message to each of us: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” (Jeremiah 1:5)
As much as we may wish to ignore it, or perhaps just forget it, God knows us in ways we do not even know ourselves. Jeremiah understood that God had called him to be a prophet; he had no choice, and he fulfilled God’s wishes. Scripture speaks to us also nonetheless, as we are reminded in our reading from Jeremiah, the Lord does not just know who we are; He has plans for each of us.
This, of course, is where “free will” comes in. Whether we seek to understand God’s plan for us and whether we choose to pursue it is totally up to us. To try to comprehend that vocation, that role, can be a humbling experience. It is not unrealistic for us to have thoughts of ourselves, which may not reach the level of God’s plans for us; nevertheless, our task as good stewards is to recognize our gifts and to respond to God’s call.