March 5, 2023; Mt 17:1-9; Second Sunday of Lent
If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans for the future. This is the lesson that Peter learned in today’s Gospel. When he saw Jesus transfigured, conversing with Moses and Elijah, Peter came up with a plan. He wanted to set up three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses and one for Elijah so that they could stay on the mountain. Peter’s plan was sensible, even thoughtful. But it was not God’s plan. As Peter would soon learn, God did not want Jesus to remain on the mountain, but rather go to Jerusalem where he would achieve our salvation. Now there was nothing wrong with Peter coming up with a plan, but he had to learn that his plan must always yield to what God had ordained. The same is true for us. We have every right to make plans for our future as long as we remember that it is God’s plan, not ours, that has priority.
We love our son. He is bright, engaging, and enjoyable. We look forward to the day that he finishes college, gets a job, finds the right woman, and begins to raise a family—hopefully close to where we live. Then one day he comes home from college and tells us that he is gay and that after graduation he will be moving with his partner to San Francisco. There was nothing wrong with our plan but now it is clear that another plan is coming into view.
We love our job, and we work hard at it, always trying to find better ways to do it. We keep our eye on the possibility that one day we will be promoted and be able to serve in the management of the company. Then our supervisor calls us in and tells us that the company is downsizing and in three weeks we will no longer be employed. Our plan for the future must be set aside.
For years we have discussed with our spouse what we will do for retirement: where we will live, how we will downsize, and how we will spend our golden years together. Then there is a stroke, and our spouse is gone. We will still need to retire, but the plan will be different than what we expected.
If you want to make God laugh, tell God your plans for the future. But also remember that when God laughs, God is not laughing at us, but for us. God does not abandon us when our plans fall apart. Every new plan that God puts in place has our welfare and our happiness as its goal. This is why Jesus tells the disciples in today’s Gospel , “Rise, do not be afraid!” Things may not have turned out as you expected, but you are not forgotten. For we believe that the new plan that God puts in place for us has been designed by God’s love.