Rev. John Kha Tran

Once there was a man who wanted to know God’s will on a particular matter.

He took his Bible, opened it at random, and dropped his index finger onto the page, Assuming that the verse on which it landed would tell him what to do. But much to his charging, his finger fell on Matthew 27:5, which reports that Judas went out and hanged himself.

The man thought he had better try it again. This time his finger came to rest on the admonition in Luke 10:37, “Go and do likewise.”

He decided to try a third time. His finger fell on these words in John 13:27, “Be quick about what you are to do.” (Paul J. Wharton. Stories and Parables for Preacher and Teachers. 49).

God’s Will

How do we know God’s will and interpret God’s will for us?

The readings today tell us that we can find God’s will in God’s word, read in God’s House, in the midst of God’s Assembly.

Familiarizing with the words of God

Ezra brought the law before the assembly: men, women and children. He read the word of God to the people from daybreak to midday. All the people listened attentively. People raised their hands answering “Amen, Amen.” They bowed down and prostrated themselves before the Lord.

Jesus came to Nazareth and, according to his custom, went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day. As it was the custom of his parents to go annually to Jerusalem to worship, Jesus had the custom of going to the synagogue each Sabbath.

The way he was raised, continued in adulthood. It is the same with us. Why are you and I here today? Because we have been raised this way. We go to church on Sunday with our parents as a family to listen to the word of God and to receive the Eucharist. You are raising your children this way. And your children will raise their children this way. Children usually follow the example of their parents. If children are forced to go to church while the parents remain home, tt is only a matter of time until the children stop going to church.

If one parent goes to church and the other does not, it will send a confused message to the children. They will wonder, “Why one of my parents goes to church and the other does not?” They will believe that going to church is an option. And if they see the one who goes to church, but does not give a better example in life, Church will not mean much to them.

If children are forced to go to Religious Education classes, but parents do not talk about religion and religious values at home, and do not make an effort to learn about the Bible and the teachings of the Church, then children will not see the value in their religious education.

Jesus’ Example

The book of Isaiah was handed to Jesus. He read the Scripture lesson in the worship service. Jesus neither have to ask what he should read nor did he ask where the passage was to be found. He simply and easily found the place to read. Apparently, Jesus knew his Bible so well that he could immediately turn to the desired passage.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me:

  • To bring glad tidings to the poor
  • To proclaim liberty to captives
  • Recovery of sight to the blind
  • To let the oppressed go free
  • To proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.

Fulfilled in Your Hearing

No one in all of Jewish history was able to say, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

No one in our community can say this either.

Even the Church cannot say, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

We, together with the Church, continue to make the word of God fulfilled in our lives and in our world. We continue to form ourselves and others with the word of God.

St. Paul tells us how to make the word of God fulfilled in our lives. We are members of the body of Christ. The body consists of members – arms, hands, feet, eyes, ears etc. Each member is a vital part of the body and is essential for the body to be complete and to function adequately. Indeed, the body can exist without an eye, arm, or leg, but it is handicapped. So the Body of Christ is handicapped by members not present or not doing their part. For the word of God to be fulfilled in us and in the Church, we have to do our part.

Connected or disconnected

Last month, on Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, carried a sophisticated bomb on his underwear, attempting to detonate it aboard a plane bound for Detroit. He was only unsuccessful in his attempt because the explosives failed to detonate.

He wanted to kill himself and others on that plane because he did not see and feel his connection with the people on that airphane. He considered the people on the airplane were not his and he was not theirs. He wanted to kill them all.

All the passengers on that phane narrowly escaped disaster because of one courageous passenger acted quickly to stop the terrorist’s action. That courageous man considered others as his people. He was part of them, and they were parts of him. So he took action to save others. At the moment he knew his mission and he acted accordingly.

The people of our nation have given Millions of dollars to help the victims of the  earhquake in Haiti. Our government has sent troops, supplies, food, water, volunteers to work days and nights  to rescue people from the rubbles. Many faithbase agencies continue to be there to help the people of Haiti rebuilding their lives. Christian countries are the first countries responding to the rescue mission. This is not accidental. Reaching out and helping the people in needs are part of our Christian living. It is our mission. And we are fulfilling it.