Friday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ecclesiastes 3:1-11; Luke 9:18-22)
We may not want to do it, but we can pity Donald Trump. At the beginning of the year, he was riding high. His party defeated a move to remove him from office. His economic policy seemed to be working. Joblessness was low, and income for everyone was rising. Even his foreign policy which defeated ISIS and withdrew from heavy commitment had its appeal. Then the Covid pandemic pushed his campaign for reelection to the side of the road. The electorate would not judge him for his earlier accomplishments but for how he dealt with the virus. Strange as it may seem, the preacher Qoheleth has this kind of turn of events in mind in today’s first reading.
There is an old saying, “Man proposes, and God disposes.” The preacher notes how humans want to control things according to their liking. They want to be like God. The preacher says, God has “put the timeless into their hearts.” But for all the planning humans might do to have things their way, it is God whose orders arranges things. He has “an appointed time for everything.” Humans must follow God’s promptings. They are born and die when God sees fit. They plant when God withdraws the snow and sends the rain. When God permits a war, they must stop their work to defend their country.
Over-planning does not become humans but gives them the illusion that they are gods. Of course, we should make provisions for the future. But even more so, we should look to God for guidance and assistance. It is folly to think that we can control everything. And it is wisdom to say along with Jesus, “Not my will but yours be done.”