Finding God on Gannon’s Campus

Welcome back.  I pray that your time away from Gannon brought you much needed rest and a fresh look at the remainder of the semester.

I wanted to thank the friends and family of Jason Wahl for the orange wrist band that was available before we went home.  I remember looking at the band many times over break and just asking God to be with all of his family and friends as they continue this journey on earth and filling the physical void of Jason with wonderful memories of Jason. My promise of prayers to all.

There seem to be messages from our Lord everywhere and this weekend’s Gospel is very direct.  There are and will be times when we will find ourselves in a position and we ask Jesus, “Please Lord . . .” whatever the plea may be.  I believe it is good to ask for desires and help, on one condition: “thy will be done.”

I can’t imagine what it would be like to have the ability to “see” in the future and know that what I want today will be harmful to me tomorrow; perhaps not in a physical sense, but in the big picture.

There is a request by James and John posed to Jesus.  This is the request: “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” So the appropriate response is: “What do you wish me to do for you?”

So we all have been here before. Jesus said to ask him for whatever it is we want, and you and I do that, for whatever the request is. We ask.

Here is the problem.  I asked God for this prayer to be answered and this is the response: “You do not know what you are asking.”

Well clearly I do. “My mom is sick and dying; I want her cured.”  “My brother is overseas and we want him home safely.” “I need money to feed my children.”

How can we deny that these are real issues that Jesus is able to remedy?  Yet perhaps we don’t receive the answer we want and that can cause us to become angry or hardened to prayer and faith.

The apostles wanted to be like Jesus and asked Jesus to allow them to sit beside him in heaven. They missed the mark.  It wasn’t about the place in heaven that was important; they still had that finite lens.  What was it that Jesus was saying?

Jesus was pointing them to the importance of service to the lowly and marginalized.  To be the last, to sit with the poor and broken and show love to them, it is not about the crown on earth.

Jesus said clearly, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers over the gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones make their authority over them felt. But it shall not be so among you. Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the son of man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Well, how does all this tie together?  The students who took time out of their day to distribute and sell remembrance bands for Jason Wahl may not have thought of the impact that they have on the lives of those receiving the bands, and there may have been little thought behind the manufacturing of the bands. After all, the people at the factory probably make thousands of these bands daily and didn’t know Jason or you and I who bought them, yet they had an active part in our lives.

The prayers that seemingly go unanswered are not lost in a void. They are heard, and because the prayer didn’t end in the result we wanted, that doesn’t mean it is not for the best.  It is not easy at all to reason that when we are in the midst of a tragedy.

The divine plan – the work Jesus instructs us to do – brings a clearer connection in the future.  It is not about sitting at the right or left hand of Jesus as a “throne” to show importance; importance is to be about his work.

We are the only face of Jesus some people may ever see.  Our face may be bloody and beaten; it may bear many scars of unanswered prayers.  The challenge is to shine anyway.  Be Jesus for everyone you meet, do your best daily to bring others to know him and then give it all to him.  He knows what is best and we may never have the answer. “Thy will be done.”

Thank you again to all who take time out of their busy life to make a difference by volunteering and serving the people of our community.



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