Sunday, July 27, is the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A).
1 Kings 3:5, 7-12; Psalm 119:57, 72, 76-77, 127-130; Romans 8:28-30; Matthew 13:44-52 or 13:44-46
Today’s second reading is mentioned many times in the Catechism — in fact, Paragraph 2012 consists entirely of the words of today’s second reading, quoted verbatim, with nothing added.
That is because St. Paul’s confident declaration of hope is at the very heart of what we believe as Christians: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God.”
Saintly lives show how deep this hope runs.
St. Catherine of Siena counseled that we should not be like those whose attitudes suggest that everything in life is conspiring against them. Rather, she said, everything — good or bad — “comes from love, and all is ordained for the salvation of man.”
St. Thomas More, shortly before being beheaded, told his daughter cheerfully, “Nothing can come but that which God wills. … It shall indeed be the best.”
Julian of Norwich perhaps said it most simply of all: “All manner of things shall be well.”
For human beings, hope is an absolute necessity. We could not face the world without hope. Our certainty that “All manner of things shall be well” — that “everything will be all right” — is almost a proof for the existence of God.
If there is no God, then the universe wasn’t designed by love; it emerged from chaos and is ordained for nothing but more chaos. Not only is there no reason to suppose things will be all right, an intelligent person should expect them to get worse.
But because there is a God, we say, “Everything will be all right” to our children during a storm, to our spouse after a job loss and whenever and wherever things seem to be going array.
God is in charge. His way will win in the end. He is there for us, above and beyond even death.
The readings explain why.
The first reading says it is because God’s gift of wisdom is his greatest gift — and it is a gift no one can take away.
The second reading explains that it is because Christ has chosen us: “And those he predestined he also called; and those he called he also justified; and those he justified he also glorified.”
The Gospel says it is because we have found God’s kingdom, which lasts forever.
Whatever reason we prefer, we can rest assured, knowing that God is with us, and “all things work for good for those who love God.”
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,
where Tom is writer in residence at Benedictine College.